New York, NY, June 11, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has presented Larry Scott, Commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference, with the ADL Americanism Award in honor of his lifetime commitment to promoting fair play in sports. As Chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, Mr. Scott waged a long and successful campaign for women’s equality, culminating in Wimbledon’s decision in 2007 to become the final Grand Slam tournament to award equal prize money to women.
Two years later, Mr. Scott took a firm stand when the Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er was denied entry by the United Arab Emirates, preventing her from competing in the Dubai Tennis Championships. The Dubai tournament was fined a record $300,000, Mr. Scott and the WTA refused to back down, and Ms. Pe’er and her fellow Israeli players were guaranteed the right to compete the following year.
“Larry Scott has devoted his life to the principle that academic excellence, athletic achievement and human rights can be simultaneously pursued,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “He has put his reputation on the line to further fairness and good sportsmanship and decency, the values on which sports is based.”
The award was presented to Mr. Scott during a tribute dinner Tuesday night at Gotham Hall in Manhattan, which featured remarks from legendary professional athletes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Billie Jean King, Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er, and a videotaped tribute from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The dinner was emceed by Fox Sports broadcaster Charles Davis.
“Early in my tennis career I was fortunate to be around athletes like Arthur Ashe, who showed me with their actions how one can make a difference,” Mr. Scott said in accepting the award. “Thanks to Arthur and others I realized how lucky we were to be elite athletes or work in sports, and with that privilege also comes responsibility. We can be proud of what we have accomplished, but we must continue to use our unique sphere of influence to advocate for fairness, equality, inclusion and respect.”
Mr. Scott said his commitment to equal opportunity and cultural understanding continues in his role as Pac-12 Commissioner, where he has promoted international initiatives and vastly enlarged the exposure the new Pac-12 networks give to women’s and Olympic sports. He announced a plan to launch the “Leadership Council of Sports,” a concept he and ADL have been developing, modeled on a similar group in the entertainment industry, to determine how sports and athletes can help advance the ADL’s objectives.
As a Harvard student, Mr. Scott captained the tennis team and became an All-American, graduating in 1986 with a B.A. in European History. Gaining a lifelong respect for the importance of balancing academic and athletic excellence, he followed a brief professional tennis career with a distinguished life in sports management and higher education, during which he has been a pioneer for fairness and international understanding.
The ADL Americanism Award is presented to an individual or institution for embracing America’s democratic values and fundamental commitment to equality and fair treatment for all. Past recipients include Leonard Riggio of Barnes & Noble; David Komansky of Merrill Lynch; Robert Benmosch of MetLife; Richard S. Fuld of Lehman Brothers; Maurice Greenberg of AIG; Patricia M. Anton of the Anton Family Foundation; William C. Anton of Anton Enterprises; tennis star Venus Williams; and Jane and Neil Golub of Price Chopper Supermarkets.
The dinner was one of a series of special events and programs being held throughout 2013 as part of the ADL’s Centennial Celebration, with the theme “Imagine A World Without Hate.”