Boat capsizing survivor Nick Schuyler finally breaks his silence to HBO's Real Sports
Nick Schuyler, the former University of South Florida football player who survived the capsizing of a boat in the Gulf of Mexico which killed three of his friends, will finally tell his story next month to HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
Schuyler's interview -- where he presumably will talk about his rescue after clinging to a boat motor for two days in a spot 35 miles south of Clearwater -- airs on the show at 10 p.m. Aug. 18, reported by correspondent Bernard Goldberg.
The tragedy became a white hot national story in March because Schuyler's friends were all athletes; former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith and former University of South Florida player Will Bleakley. Their bodies were never found (at right, is a photo of a tattoo memorializing his friends published on the Web site TheDirty.com).
Once Schuyler was rescued, news outlets from across the globe tried to secure his story, and speculation ran rampant over who might actually earn the "get" (as TV people call it). John Dunn, a spokesman for Tampa General Hospital, said Schuyler was adamant that he would not speak with media while recovering there, and discouraged family members from conducting interviews, as well.
"I got the feeling he had more than enough on his mind without worrying about (the media coverage)," said Dunn, who initially had to place media on the hospital's loading dock, because so many reporters showed up unexpectedly when the story exploded. "I told the family, 'Once you talk to one of them, you'll have to talk with all of them.' "
It didn't help that initial reporting during the search for the players, who were missing for two days before the news broke, was occasionally inaccurate, with some local outlets reporting Cooper had also been rescued.
Schuyler, who seemed to work hard to avoid media after leaving the hospital, may have concluded HBO's sports investigative show Real Sports was the best place to tell his admittedly difficult story.
(Many thanks to Times staff writer Brant James who contributed to this story)