ESPN’s John Clayton on “The Color”

Launch Party for The Color of Sundays: 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6 at the Clark Bar

John Clayton, ESPN senior NFL writer and comentator

John Clayton, ESPN senior NFL writer and comentator

Whenever I was interviewing Bill Nunn Jr., he often talked about that “former Pittsburgh Press reporter with the glasses who works for ESPN.” It didn’t take me long to figure out he meant John Clayton, the network’s senior NFL writer and commentator, known as “The Professor” for his brainy takes on the game. (Check out this ESPN commercial for the “real” Clayton.)

While he was still a student at Churchill Area High School, Clayton started covering sports. And he was covering Steelers training camp as early as 1972 for the St. Mary’s Pennsylvania Daily Press. He joined ESPN in 1995 and has been inducted into the writers’ wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Few people in the industry work harder.

As a former newsman and football legend, Nunn had a deep appreciation for Clayton. So when I finished the book, it was important for me to get Clayton’s take on The Color of Sundays. After reading the book on a short turn-around (during the start of NFL training camps), Clayton offered up these thoughts…

“As a young reporter, I learned a lot of football from Bill Nunn Jr. His story, The Color of Sundays, is a must-read history lesson on how sports can overcome racism. Bill was ahead of his time in getting great players of color into the NFL.”

It means a lot to me that the people who knew Nunn professionally appreciated the way I told his story. When I saw this quote, I knew I had hit the mark.

ESPN captures another side of "The Professor" John Clayton in a tongue-in-cheek commercial.

ESPN captures another side of John Clayton in this tongue-in-cheek commercial about “The Professor.”

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