Here's the intro to the show, which I'm embedding because I'm pretty sure nobody has seen it because nobody watches "Undisputed".
It seems like just a couple weeks ago Shannon was holding back as best he could from dislodging Skip's head from his body.
For Sharpe to no-show today, you know what unfolded last night on twitter, and all day today in the media and around watercoolers everywhere, was a huge deal for him. And rightfully so. He played the game, Bayless did not. Sharpe has already wanted to punch Skip's lights out and tensions were high, so this was probably the safe move. From both a career standpoint and not catching a homicide case standpoint.
As Rico covered this morning, whether you agree or disagree, Bayless is now radioactive to the world pretty much.
Distancing himself from Bayless, either via advice from his agent, or his therapist, was probably also the smart move.
But to skip out on the show, the day after drumming up all this controversy, was also just further playing into Skip's egomaniacal ways.
A few minutes into the show, Skip seemingly tried to clear the air without directly addressing the reason behind Shannon's absence, saying, "Obviously, my partner, Shannon Sharpe, is not here today. I look forward to seeing him tomorrow."
Bayless also started the show telling the audience he was going to "approach the show as he would any other weekday … though he wasn't sure if he'd be able to get through the emotional topic."
"I apologize for what we've set out to do if it offends anyone because we're going to try to do the show pretty much as we usually do the show but I'll admit upfront, I'm still shook up by what happened last night to Damar Hamlin."
Skip continued … "In fact, I'm still wrecked. In fact, I'm not sure I'm capable of doing this show today but after barely sleeping on it, I decided to give it a try. Maybe I'll fail, maybe we will fail but we're going to try."
Though it is possible that it wasn't Bayless' intention to initially set off the firestorm he did with his tweet, (which confused an awful, awful lot of people), he's the last guy to shy away from the attention and the spotlight.
In fact he welcomes it.
So in a morbid, fucked up way, he's managed to make this story about himself now and become a part of it instead of what it should have been, about Hamlin's health.
So how exactly was he able to do that?
I think through a fool-proof recipe of chumming the water while people are fired up and looking to get into a feeding frenzy, just like Tommy Smokes blogged today.
Tommy and Rico both alluded to this in their blogs, that Skip has been skating on thin ice essentially his entire career. It's actually impressive he's managed to keep his foot out of his mouth and avoid the outrage police as long as he has. But then again, any time there is outrage over him, it's just "Skip being Skip" and he gets more engagement because that's how the world works these days. And that's why people were so quick to jump on him- why would anyone give him the benefit of the doubt when he's made a career out of antagonizing, especially in the worst of situations, such as Dak Prescott discussing mental health:
So no, he doesn't get reasonable doubt from the general public these days. Far from it.
I don't think he's a bad person, and I don't think he truly believes half the stuff he says or writes (or any). I think he's so caught up in the persona and character he's created over the years that the line is blurred and he can't tell where one ends and the other begins anymore.
After I started to see the sharks circle late last night on social media, and the calls for his #cancellation start to come, I tweeted this.
Because it's true. Skip Bayless is a fucking moron.
Because he knows how disliked he is and during one of the most hyper-sensitive situations you can remember occurring in sports, he couldn't have been, as Rico put it, more tone-deaf. Not if he tried.
It doesn't matter if it was the elephant in the room, and the same thought crossed everybody's mind. There's a thing called tact, and tastefulness, and he showed none of it. Have some common decency man.
BUT, does that mean he should be cancelled? Or lose his job?
I think one of the reasons I didn't react the way many people did once the tweet in question started being blasted around group chats and on social media was because I saw the tweets that preceded it. Skip hopped on Twitter to fire off some really obvious, and meaningless tweets as soon as the situation turned serious.
I post those two “throwaway tweets” for a little thing called “context”, which we’ll get to a minute.
Here’s the one that followed those, that set everybody off.
Let’s break this down a bit. Shall we?
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. - Skip
Let’s dissect this in parts.
1- No doubt the NFL is considering postponing the rest of this game - but how?
This is a rhetorical question.
He was stating that with only 13 days until the first playoff games take place, how can the league reschedule this game for a later date? Both Buffalo and Cincy play this Sunday. You can’t move it to Thursday because then they’re playing this disjointed game, getting banged up Thursday and then being expected to suit up again 3 days later.
2- This late in the season, a game of this magnitude is crucial to the regular-season outcome
Here he’s pointing out that this game could ultimately decide who gets home field in the AFC in this year's playoffs, as the Chiefs and Bills are neck and neck coming into these final two weeks.
And lastly, and most importantly.
3- which suddenly seems so irrelevant.
So, what he's saying here is despite the idea of how important these late-season games like this are to the NFL, it suddenly not only pales in comparison to the situation at hand (a guy nearly dying on the field), but it's irrelevant!
I wasn't an English major, but even I know he qualified it with the disclaimer, "which suddenly seems so irrelevant."
Now the issue is he obviously made the main part of the tweet about the game itself, which rubbed everyone the wrong way. Why care about the game being scheduled at that exact moment when we don't know if a man just died on the field? Again, tone deaf.
What helps get him off the hook is taking into context the tweets that preceded this one. He was literally saying he was praying for Hamlin. And that in his 50+ years of watching football and witnessing some horrific incidents, he’d never seen players react this way.
Like I mentioned, Skip Bayless is a lot of things- an egomaniac, a huckster, an instigator, a contrarian, hell, he's a downright fucking asshole, and moron a lot of the time.
What he is not is a ruthless, soulless person. Which is what he would have to be to have to tweet something as insensitive as the people calling for his head are accusing him of doing.
Given the backlash, does Skip wish he had this tweet back? 99% of me says yes. BUT, there’s still that 1% that says he secretly enjoys this reaction because he’s the greatest troll of all time. He’s the MJ of trolling.
He followed up with this tweet attempting to explain/apologize.
But there was no use. The mob had already rallied the troops. They were at the gates with their pitchforks and torches and there was no turning back. They won’t be happy until Fox is forced to send Skip packing his bags.
Which is what I think is what’s somehow stolen some of the spotlight off an event that was, and still could have been, even more tragic- and directing it at a stunad in the sports media for over-tweeting.
I’m not condoning it whatsoever, but playing devil's advocate here-
Whatever happened to just calling somebody tasteless? Or an idiot? Or an asshole and roasting them for having a bad opinion on something? Or arguing why their take was so bad? Respectfully disagreeing. Civilly debating.
When did it become standard operating procedure to instead jump to immediately calling for them to lose their job, be kicked off social media, and be blackballed from society? Just because you disagree with somebody, (no matter how awful a person they might be or how terrible their view is on something), doesn't really give anybody the right to automatically say they're excommunicated. That's a dangerous-as-fuck slippery slope. Do you know who used to excommunicate people?
Those guys. We don't wanna be like those guys.
As the tagline of Skip's former show used to read, "embrace debate".
p.s.- cant lie, this made me laugh.
P.p.s. - Kevin had the correct take on this
But the thing to keep in mind I think is what Damar himself said on Boomer's show recently-
Amen. And get well quick Damar.