Frank Deford is the most acclaimed sport writer and commentator of the modern era in the United States. Deford joined the staff of Sports Illustrated in 1962, after his graduation from Princeton University. He pioneered a writing style that was virtually unknown in the sports writing genre, the essay, in which the writer's opinions concerning a sporting event were as prominent as the events themselves.
Deford and his association with Sports Illustrated has produced a wealth of material that covers almost every imaginable aspect of American sport, including reporting on the impact of science and technology on sport. Deford has also reported on use of illegal substances by athletes, and how their actions impact larger issues for both sports and society. In 2006, Deford's weekly columns in Sports Illustrated included opinions regarding the issue of steroid use in baseball, boxer Joe Louis and racial issues in boxing, and the end of Catholic school supremacy in college basketball. He has addressed issues that were both popular such as the World Series or the Super Bowl, as well as issues that are more obscure or esoteric. As was the case with H.L. Mencken, the legendary Baltimore newspaper columnist and commentator who was prolific in his writing between 1910 and 1948, Deford has created a definable style to his work, that has enhanced both Deford's broad appeal and his longevity as a writer.
Deford's style is often tinged with humor and irony. He often is irreverent in the support of a particular point, as evidenced by his famous observation, "I believe that professional wrestling is clean—everything else is fixed."
Deford is also the most decorated American sports writer in history. He has been named Sports-writer of the Year on six occasions. Deford has also won an Emmy award for his work on television as a commentator. Deford has written 14 books, and he has appeared as commentary on National Public Radio in the United States.
SEE ALSO Football (American).