If there was an all-interview team in the NFL, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Bart Scott would be the headliner. One of the most boisterous, funny and bright players in the league, he's got a charisma that should take him a long way when his playing days end. But with Scott's emergence as a cornerstone in the Ravens' seemingly inexhaustible stable of defensive talent, he's likely to be earning paychecks in the league for a long time coming. However, that hasn't stopped him from also playing the entertainer.
Scott took some time out earlier this month to tell us about his off days, as well as his interesting sports pedigree.
Charles Robinson: So tell me about one of your most interesting off-day routines.
Bart Scott: Sometimes I go down and spend time with paraplegic kids. I'll go down and take a Nintendo Wii down there and play with them. A lot of paraplegic kids don't have full function of their hands, but the good thing about the Wii, you can tape the joystick to their hand. They can do the movements and play with you. It's fun. I went down there a couple of weeks ago and we played the Wii and I lost a bunch of times. I don't let the kids win, either. They really kicked my butt.
Robinson: Oh yeah?
Scott: Yeah. It shows me how far out of the loop I am. The kids were beating me in boxing, and there was a girl in a wheelchair; we were bowling on the Wii. I'd hold the button for her and she was so steady throwing the ball – with that kind of arm motion. She bowled like a 163 on me.
Robinson: So you thought this up, bringing the Wii to the kids?
Scott: Yeah. My charity benefits paraplegics. My cousin was shot two years ago when he was sitting at a bar. Somebody came and shot the bar up and he got shot in the back. When that happened, I started my charity … . I'm still waiting to do a PSA to be a national spokesman for the paraplegics association.
Robinson: What do you do if you're not spending your time doing charity work?
Scott: I'm a bowler. I love bowling. And I probably shouldn't say the other thing I do, because I don't know if commissioner (Roger) Goodell would like that.
Robinson: Uh oh. What's that?
Scott: I go to the gun range a lot. I love going to the gun range.
Robinson: It's not like that's illegal or something. I don't know what Goodell could do about it.
Scott: Well, they give you that video in the preseason saying, "We suggest that you don't carry guns." And then they say something about the Bloods and Crips and how they're killing people.
Robinson: Isn't there a little bit of a jump between the gun range and the Bloods and the Crips?
Scott: Right. But they say "You really don't need a gun. It increases your chances of getting robbed" and this and that. Then they tell you about all the robberies and how athletes are being targeted. And I'm thinking, "Well then why wouldn't I want to own a gun if people are going to be coming to rob me and all that stuff?" They're contradicting themselves.
Robinson: This is coming from an NFL linebacker who used to be a tennis player in high school.
Scott: (Laughing) Man, you are digging into the archives. Yeah, I used to play a little tennis. I used to do a little side-to-side action.
Robinson: Did you wear the little white tennis shorts?
Scott: Noooo, man. I had the extended version.
Robinson: Come on.
Scott: You know what's even funnier? I used to play volleyball, too.
Robinson: I refuse to believe that.
Scott: And guess who I used to play against? Maurice Williams, the offensive tackle for (the) Jacksonville (Jaguars).
Robinson: Really? Biiiiiiiig Maurice Williams?
Scott: Yeah, two big football players battling it out on the volleyball court.
Robinson: That's not pretty.
Scott: Yeah, and Maurice was like 315 pounds in high school, too. He went to Detroit Pershing and I went to Detroit Southeastern.
Robinson: Wait. Help me understand this. I used to work in Detroit. I know where you went to high school. That wasn't like some suburban school. And you played tennis and volleyball?
Scott: (Laughing) Yeah. In the 'hood.
Robinson: Are you sure you didn't go to one of those rich-kid schools in Detroit like Grosse Pointe?
Scott: Nah, man. Southeastern was a thug school. But we didn't have anything else to do. We didn't have wrestling or anything like that. So you had these coaches who were teachers and who had the extra incentive to coach other sports. Basically the whole volleyball team was the basketball team.
Robinson: Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure you can't get through playing both volleyball and tennis without wearing some really short shorts at some point.
Scott: Not me. I wore gym shorts.
Robinson: I don't know. I think there might be some pictures of you floating around Detroit with you in some little white shorts.
Scott: You know what the bad thing was? No matter how big Maurice Williams' shorts were, they were always tight. Not to throw him under the bus or anything.
Scott: If you have time, why don't you call Pershing High School and see if you can get a picture of the volleyball team from 1997 and 1998. I'm sure they would have a picture of Maurice Williams playing volleyball in those shorts.
Robinson. I'll look into it. So you played tennis and volleyball. And isn't it true that you speak Japanese?
Scott: A little bit. I'm pretty rusty. It's something that if you don't do it for a long time, you forget how to write it and stuff like that. It's always evolving. There are always new translations.
Robinson: You minored in it in college, right?
Scott: For about a year, but I eventually had to drop it. But I took it in high school, too. One of my chemistry teachers got infatuated with Japanese, then got certified and started teaching it at my high school.
Robinson: So let me get this straight one last time. You played tennis. You played volleyball. And you learned how to speak Japanese. I lived in Detroit for a while. I know what the public schools are like. Something just doesn't add up about that. I could see that happening in a wealthy school district like Grosse Pointe.
Scott: Yep, and we were in the 'hood. We were thuggin' too. But you know what? We'd be getting our ass whooped by Grosse Pointe in sports.
Robinson: It was the shorts.
Scott: (Laughing) Maybe it was.
Information about Scott's "A Son Never Forgets Foundation" – for those suffering from paralysis – can be found along with other Ravens charities at http://www.baltimoreravens.com/Community/Default.aspx?id=60
- Bart Scott