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Frank Deford, Longtime NPR Sports Commentator, Dies

Frank Deford

Longtime NPR sports commentator Frank Deford died Sunday in Key West, Fla., according to The Washington Post. He was 78. 

Deford recently retired after spending 37 years contributing to Morning Edition. 

In a column earlier this month announcing his retirement, Deford wrote:

“...This particular tiny show on earth that consists entirely of me talking about sports on NPR is also folding its tent flaps this May of 2017. Yes, this is my swansong, my farewell, my last hurrah. Adieu, adios, arrivederci, auf wiedersehen.

I've been delivering these little homilies since 1980 — that's 37 years — and altogether, NPR statisticians tell me, my bloviation total is 1,656 commentaries — and I trust you've hung onto every word.

And perhaps just as important, I've been blessed with you, with a broad and intelligent audience — even if large portions thereof haven't necessarily given a hoot about sports. Nothing has pleased me so much as when someone — usually a woman — writes me or tells me that she's appreciated sports more because NPR allowed me to treat sports seriously, as another branch on the tree of culture.

I have survived so long because I've been blessed with talented and gracious colleagues, and with a top brass who let me choose my topics every week and then allowed me to express opinions that were not always popular. Well, someone had to stand up to the yackety-yak soccer cult.

Thank you for listening. Thank you for abiding me.

And now, Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, I bid you goodbye, and take my leave.”