John Clayton, a longtime NFL reporter and radio host, died on May 14, 2021, at the age of 67, following a brief illness. He was known as “The Professor” for his deep knowledge and analysis of the league. He worked for ESPN for 23 years and covered the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. He also hosted a show on ESPN Radio and wrote for ESPN.com. He was a respected and beloved figure in the NFL media and among the fans. In this article, we will look at how the Reddit community reacted to his death and paid tribute to his legacy.
The News Breaks
The news of Clayton’s death was first reported by his colleague and friend Chris Mortensen, who tweeted:
[Mortensen] John Clayton passed away today at a Seattle area hospital. His wife Pat and sister Amy were at his side and communicated earlier he passed peacefully after a brief illness. We loved John. We are mourning his loss.
The tweet was shared on the r/nfl subreddit, where it quickly gained over 3,000 upvotes and hundreds of comments. Many users expressed their shock and sadness, and shared their memories and appreciation of Clayton’s work. Some of the top comments were:
Completely. Clayton was the pinnacle of NFL coverage on ESPN.
Damn man. Not usually one to get emotional at celebrity deaths but this one got me. He’s been a guest on local sports radio for as long as I can remember (15+ years, I’m pretty sure).
RIP John. You were one of the greatest. Thank you for your dedication to the craft.
One of the most common things that users mentioned was Clayton’s famous ESPN commercial, where he was shown to be a metalhead who lived with his mom and wore a Slayer T-shirt and a ponytail. The commercial was a parody of the rumors and speculations that some fans had about Clayton’s appearance and lifestyle, and it showed his sense of humor and self-deprecation. The commercial was posted on the r/sports subreddit, where it also received over 3,000 upvotes and hundreds of comments. Some of the top comments were:
Hey mom! I’m done with my segment!!
And then he would start rocking out to Slayer while eating in his bed.
One of the best espn commercials ever. John will be missed
Another interesting comment that caught the attention of many users was from a user who claimed to be Clayton’s nephew. He wrote:
Hey, I’m John’s nephew. His sister Amy mentioned at the end of the article is my mother. I never got the chance to reconnect with him from when I was young, but my mother was with him when he passed. He died of a liver failure. It warms my heart to read just how many people he entertained over the years. Thanks for all the sweet words, but to make some light of a sad situation, as one comment said “He always had a face for radio.” RIP Uncle John!
The comment received over 200 upvotes and many replies of condolences and support. Some users also asked him to verify his identity, and he provided a photo of himself with Clayton and his mother. He also answered some questions about Clayton’s personality and career, and thanked the Reddit community for their kindness.
John Clayton was a legend in the NFL media, who influenced and inspired many other reporters and fans. He was known for his professionalism, integrity, and passion for the game. He was also a humble and humorous person, who did not take himself too seriously. He left behind a legacy of excellence and respect that will not be forgotten.