Longtime NFL reporter Don Banks died Sunday, August 4 in Canton, Ohio after attending the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend, where he covered the HOF ceremonies and was in attendance when his good friend Sam Farmer was honored with the Dick McCann Award. Banks’ first story for the Las Vegas Review-Journal was published hours before he died.
Peter King, who worked with Don at Sports Illustrated, wrote a short obituary on behalf of Don’s family that was published in his Football Morning in America column on ProFootballTalk/NBCSports,com this morning. It is reproduced below, and Peter’s full column on Don can be found here: https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/08/05/don-banks-dies-nfl-fmia-peter-king/
The PFWA joins with Don’s many friends in expressing condolences to his wife, Alissa and his sons, Matt and Micah, and their entire family. He will be missed.
DON BANKS 1962-2019
Don Banks, one of the leading NFL reporters in the country, died suddenly on Sunday in Canton, Ohio. He was in Canton to cover the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies over the weekend, and his first story in his new job, as NFL columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, was published in Sunday’s editions.
Banks, 57, had a 36-year career in sportswriting, beginning when he covered prep sports as an intern in the Tampa Bay area for the St. Petersburg Times. He moved on to cover the Buccaneers for the Times, before moving to Minnesota to cover pro football for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and later the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It was there that Banks caught the eye of editors at Sports Illustrated. In 2000, he was hired as NFL columnist for the Sports Illustrated website, SI.com.
Banks was an NFL lifer. At SI, his Snap Judgments column on Sunday evenings became appointment reading for NFL fans. After an illustrious career at SI ended in 2016, Banks moved on to write about the league for NFL.com, Bleacher Report, Patriots.com and The Athletic. That led to the editors at the Review-Journal, needing a respected national presence to cover the NFL with the Raiders moving to Nevada in 2020, conducting a one-candidate job search. They hired Banks as their NFL correspondent. He started last Thursday, and his first story appeared on the paper’s website just hours before he died.
He was known for his absolute impartiality, covering the league at a time when he both lampooned and praised Roger Goodell, the commissioner who has been under fire for much of the last decade.
Banks, born in Coatesville, Pa., moved to St. Petersburg at a young age. He is survived by his wife, Alissa, of Auburndale, Mass., and son Matt, of Philadelphia, and Micah, a student at George Washington University; a brother, Doug Banks, a sister, Donna; and many nieces and nephews.
Some remembrances of Don from colleagues and friends:
Jenny Vrentas (Sports Illustrated):
Ed Graney (Las Vegas Review-Journal):https://www.reviewjournal.com/sports/nfl/don-banks-longtime-nfl-reporter-dies-at-57-1818583/