We are all collectively tired of Skip Bayless
OPINION: The sports analyst, who co-hosts “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed” on FS1 with NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, is repeatedly disrespectful to Black men — especially his co-host. Enough is enough.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
Shannon Sharpe has to go to work each and every day and deal with a mediocre white man.
At one point or another, every single one of us has had to go to work and deal with a co-worker who is annoying and gets on our last nerve; for Shannon Sharpe, that co-worker is Skip Bayless.
If you aren’t familiar with him, John Edward “Skip” Bayless II is a 71-year-old white man whose sports career “peaked” before college. He has never played a college sport or a professional one, but he has excelled at writing and providing commentary about the people who do.
Skip’s brand of sports writing and commentary is often openly hostile and disrespectful of those who play the sports he’s covering — especially Black men.
During a televised “Monday Night Football” game on Jan. 2, 24-year-old Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field after being hit by another player and had to be given CPR. He was eventually taken to a hospital where he was listed as being in critical condition.
In the 19 minutes before Hamlin was taken off the field, sports fans wondered whether the NFL would suspend the game or not. Sports Twitter and casual fans alike discussed it so much, it was trending within minutes, and that is when Skip Bayless joined the chat with his particular brand of b.s.
“No doubt the NFL is considering postponing the rest of this game — but how? This late in the season, a game of this magnitude is crucial to the regular-season outcome…which suddenly seems so irrelevant,” he tweeted like someone who only considered the actual human life hanging in the balance right in the moment as an afterthought.
His insensitive and inconsiderate tweet was met with immediate rebuke and backlash from journalists, fans, celebrities and sports players alike.
Former NBA player Kendrick Perkins called him “a sick individual,” adding “Real Talk.”
Questlove of The Roots told him, “He is a human being man. Damn.”
On Tuesday morning following the horrific injury to Hamlin and Skip’s ignorant tweet, Shannon Sharpe failed to make an appearance on their morning show. Speculation throughout the day reached the consensus that Sharpe did not appear because he was upset by the tweet.
Those suspicions were confirmed when Sharpe returned to the desk on Wednesday morning.
As the show began, Sharpe immediately addressed his absence on Tuesday as well as the rumors why, saying, “There’s been a lot of speculation of why I wasn’t on air yesterday, and I won’t get into speculation or conjecture or innuendo, but I will say this: In watching that game on Monday night, what happened to Damar Hamlin struck me a little different. As a brotherhood in the NFL, when injuries happen, when we know injuries are a part of the game, I’ve seen guys suffer ACLs and Achilles tears, but I’ve never seen anybody have to be revived and fight for their life on the field. So this struck me a little differently because I remember seeing my brother paralyzed on the field temporarily, and he was able to regain focus.”
“Skip tweeted something,” he continued, “and although I disagreed with the tweet — and hopefully Skip will take it down — but I didn’t want yesterday —”
Sharpe didn’t get to finish his thought before Bayless immediately interrupted him.
“Well, time out. Time out,” Bayless said “I’m not going to take it down because I stand behind what I tweeted.”
His frustration visibly showing, Sharpe interjected, “Skip, let me finish — ”
Bayless continued to talk over him, and Sharpe, who is quite obviously over Skip and his nonsense said, “OK. Go ahead.”
“No, you go,” Skip said contritely.
“I mean, I cannot even get through a monologue without you interrupting me,” Sharpe said as Bayless once again began talking over him.
“I didn’t know you were going to bring up this,” Bayless said.
Sharpe then attempted to explain to Bayless that all he was trying to say is he didn’t want Tuesday’s show to focus on his own feelings about the tweet when Damar Hamlin should have been the focus.
“But you can’t even let me finish my opening monologue without you interrupting,” Sharpe said.
“OK,” Bayless said. “I was under the impression that you weren’t going to bring this up because nobody here had a problem with that tweet.”
That comment contradicts what Bayless said on Tuesday when he played the victim and told the television audience that his boss at Fox told him, “Hey, people are really reacting strongly to your tweet. Maybe you should clarify.”
Bayless claims his tweet was “misconstrued,” but we all know that’s a copout. He said what he said, and doubling down on it Wednesday morning only makes it that much more egregious. Claiming that no one at Fox took issue with the tweet is certainly a stretch, and Sharpe immediately called him out on it.
“Clearly, the bosses wanted you to offer an explanation, so clearly someone had a problem with it” before Bayless disrespectfully interrupted him again, and Sharpe tossed the show back to their moderator, making it clear he was done listening and talking to Skip on that particular topic.
This is not the first time Skip has disrespected Black athletes in general, and Shannon Sharpe specifically.
On Dec. 12, the two got into a heated debate after Bayless took a shot at Sharpe while they were discussing Tom Brady.
“He’s still playing at a high level at 45 when you had to stop at 35,” Bayless told Sharpe in reference to Brady.
Sharpe retorted by accusing Bayless of trying to make him seem “jealous” any time he has a valid critique of another player.
“Skip, I did what I did,” Sharpe said. “You make it seem like I was a bum. I’m in the effin’ Hall of Fame! I’ve got three Super Bowls!”
“So what,” Bayless shot back. “He’s way better than you were!”
Sharpe accused Bayless of taking personal shots at him. His voice rose several octaves as he chastised Bayless, so you know he was mad.
As I said before, Bayless has never played a college or professional sport in his life, so speaking as if he knows what it takes to get out there and give it all you’ve got for an entire game is probably insulting to a lot of people.
That’s why Richard Sherman ate him up in 2013, in a video that never gets old.
The point is, everyone is tired of Skip Bayless. I can’t speak on his writing skills, because I don’t read anything he writes, but as a commentator, to me, he is as obnoxious as Stephen A. Smith and Jeff Van Gundy. Any time any of them start speaking, I want to mute my television.
Stephen A. and Skip in particular seem to have this idea that the more obnoxious they are, the more popular they’ll become, and maybe that’s working for them, but in Skip’s case, he takes it a bit too far when he is constantly downing Black men.
That is the part I take issue with.
Just look at his hate for LeBron James. If you search Skip’s Twitter handle and “LeBron,” I guarantee you will find pages of him contorting himself to find new ways to insult a man who joined the NBA at 19 years old and has dominated ever since.
The other side of this most recent offense is the way people are speaking about it on Twitter. Both Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless are trending as of this writing, and a lot of tweets are praising Shannon Sharpe for his “professionalism” in the wake of Skip’s tweet and reactive behavior toward Sharpe.
Y’all already know how I feel about the entire racist construct of “professionalism” and the way it is used to police the behaviors of everyone in the workplace except white people.
I want you to imagine for a minute that it was Shannon Sharpe who sent out that offensive tweet. Then I want you to imagine him coming on the show with unapologetic, righteous indignation and acting toward Skip Bayless the way Bayless acted toward him on Wednesday’s show.
Think about how quickly people would have called him out for being “unprofessional.” Think about how swift the rebuke from the network would be.
Because Skip Bayless is a mediocre white man who has gotten ahead because of whiteness and white privilege, he likely won’t face any of the same kinds of consequences Shannon Sharpe would if this situation were reversed, and that is the part that sticks in my craw.
I will not be the first person to call Skip out on his nonsense. I will certainly not be the last. Even as I shared my thoughts on social media this morning, people told me that I should “be used to it already” because this is his “brand.” “He’s the villain,” people said.
Shannon Sharpe wouldn’t be allowed to get away with this “brand,” and neither would any other Black person, so why does Skip?
We are collectively tired of Skip Bayless, and we are ready for him to go.
Give Shannon Sharpe his own show already.
“Club Shay Shay” would do numbers on television I think.
Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.
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