For 30 years, the renowned Sports Journalism Institute has produced young and diverse industry giants, and Nick Creegan was poised to be one of them.
Instead, he decided to take a risk and pursue acting.
Some 10 years after graduating from SJI, Creegan has been a series regular on the CW’s “Batwoman” and was a regular on “Law and Order: Organized Crime.”
But like his journey in sports, Creegan’s acting career has not been an easy road.
After working at ESPN and Fox Sports, he moved on to AOL’s “Two Point Lead” in 2014, where he appeared in comedic sports sketches that reignited his love for acting.
“My dream was to be like [late sportscaster] Stuart Scott, and I was headed down that path,” Creegan told the APSE Bulletin. “Then I realized, ‘You know what, I love this — but I think I love acting more.’”
Creegan went two years without any acting work until he landed both of his breakout roles in 2021, one of which made history. Creegan is the first black to play The Joker in the DC universe.
Now, with Batwoman trending on Twitter for a week straight as the three-season show has yet to be renewed, he exudes tranquility.
“I truly believe everything happens for a reason,” Creegan says.
He references inspirational Black figures like Bob Marley, Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith, who have contributed to his mentality about his purpose and the power of manifestation.
Creegan also credits SJI for his mindset.
“It was intense,” he said. “There were moments where I wanted to cry because I felt like I was behind the pack.”
But Creegan holds a lesson close that Red Smith Award-winning journalist and SJI mentor, Leon Carter, instilled in him. Originally from Maya Angelou: “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.”
He recently joked on Twitter about making a return to his former industry.
“I feel like I should get back into sports journalism part-time. What’s good?? Let’s talk” he wrote, tagging Carter.
“I didn’t know whether he was serious or not,” Carter said, noting that Creegan could be successful in either industry. “I think he has a pretty good on-air presence. I think he has an innovative mind. He thinks in nontraditional ways about how to bring stories to light, and that’s what I like about him.”
Still, he’s unsure about the probability of another career shift for Creegan.
“Certainly he did a good job in trying to become an actor; I’m not so sure he’s ready to give that up,” Carter said.
Creegan confirmed the tweet was all in fun, saying: “I don’t see myself ever writing another game story. … Especially not on deadline.”
He admits that he does miss some aspects of his old life, though.
“I feel like once you become a journalist, that side of you never leaves,” Creegan said. “You’re always going to be interested in digging deeper in everything you do. ... You’re always going to have that drive to dive back in some way.”
That drive has the potential to be satiated as he pursues his latest endeavor, “Broken Whip Media,” a production company he co-founded with two of his best friends, chef Kwame Onwuachi and author Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.
“We have shows that we are actively pitching,” Creegan said.
Unable to audition for certain projects until a decision is made about the future of “Batwoman,” he still finds himself busy working from 4 a.m. until late at night some days.
A decade from what he heralds as the start of his journey, Creegan is building something big: a lasting legacy of persistence. When asked about how it feels to look back on his success since SJI, one thing stands out: “I feel, number one, very proud of never giving up.”