Yesterday, the World Soccer Talk team was assembled in Bristol CT as guests of ESPN. During pre-production for Thursday’s ESPN FC show previewing the World Cup Draw, an ESPN staffer shouted “Nelson Mandela died.” Suddenly everyone on the set led by host Dan Thomas began reminiscing about Mandela’s life and legacy.
When the ESPN FC show opened at 5:30pm EST, the crew spent seven minutes, the full first segment, discussing Mandela’s legacy, his life, his impact on sport and the recollections of the 2010 South Africa World Cup (watch video below). None of it was scripted. None of the pundits had time to do research or to crystalize their thoughts pre-show, since the death had just happened. But the entire cast of pundits gave Mandela a fitting remembrance, with Alexi Lalas, Craig Burley and Shaka Hislop especially sharing specific memories from meeting and observing Mandela.
I knew Nelson Mandela’s passing would be one of those moments you always recall where you were. One of the world’s greatest living individuals passes away and I along with the World Soccer Talk team was privileged to share it in the company of the ESPN FC crew and staff. ESPN treated Mandela’s death with the respect it deserved. And, for today’s World Cup Draw, ESPN will be including a special segment to pay tribute to Mandela.
The World Soccer Talk team will be at ESPN’s headquarters today to bring you the latest news and any developments regarding ESPN TV coverage news.