Steve Wyche was already a well-respected writer/reporter when he joined the NFL in 2008. Since then, Wyche has been a prolific contributor for both NFL.com and NFL Network.
We caught up with Wyche for this week’s Friday Five…
Who is your biggest mentor?
I would have to say it’s a collection. Coming up, it was people like David Aldridge when he was coming up with the Washington Post. Same with Michael Wilbon. And then my first sports editor at the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, the late Bill Millsaps. He was just an incredible journalist and an incredible man who really took the time to spend with a 23-year-old college graduate to help me learn the market and learn people and introduce me to certain aspects of the industry.
It was never one singular person that I latched onto, but none of us would be here without the help of others. The late Roscoe Nance of USA Today … really took the time to educate me not just about the profession but about different aspects of sports and things like that. I also can’t leave off my old co-worker Armando Salguero, of the Miami Herald. He showed me more than anybody how to be a really good beat reporter. So those are the collective that probably had the most influence on me in my journalistic career.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
My personal pet peeve is people who leave shopping carts in the middle of parking lots! But my biggest pet peeve is complainers, and I’m not ashamed to say it. We cover sports for a living. And when I hear people in the press box complaining about deadlines … if I hear co-workers complaining about, “How come one person got this assignment and not me?” it bothers me.
What is your favorite book?
I would probably say The Color of Water by James McBride. It’s an incredible ode to his mother. James McBride is biracial, and he tells the story of his mother, who was this young Jewish woman, a European immigrant who was raised in a small town in Virginia. Her parents had a business in the black part of town. She gets pregnant and moves to New York, and has him and some other siblings. And it’s an incredible tale and ode to what his mother went through. The title comes from when he asked his mother one day, “What color am I?” — because he looked black and she was white, and he was confused. And she said, “You’re the color of water.” It is one of the most brilliant pieces of literature I’ve ever read. And anything he writes is great – Song Yet Sung, the tale of the Underground Railroad, Miracle at St. Anna, The Good Lord Bird. He’s written some incredible books. Just a great author.
If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would they be?
I would probably say Barack Obama and Colin Kaepernick. The third would be Bryan Stevenson, who wrote Just Mercy and founded the Equal Justice Initiative. He’s been instrumental in righting a lot of judicial malpractice. He’s number one on my “wish I could have a conversation with” club. He is a dude who’s doing God’s work in the fullest of the fullest matter.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be nicer to everybody. I look back at some of the times in life where I really wish I could have had a do-over. I was pretty nice to most everybody, but I think there are some folks growing up, whether it was peer pressure or me just kind of trying to establish myself as a popular kid or a tough guy or something … Be nicer to more people, because you never know how that could impact somebody someday.
Check out all of our Friday Five features — including Troy Aikman, Adam Schefter, Andrea Kremer and more — in the Friday Five archive.