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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why Skip Bayless Is Ruining Sports Culture

I have cracked on ESPN's Skip Bayless a few times during the playoffs due to his irrational on-air hatred of three time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James of the Miami Heat. I worked in radio for a year and I have been running this blog for two years. I understand that the mission is as much grabbing people's attention as it is informing people. That may go double for television. So I take Skip's absurd opinions about James (and others) with a grain of salt.

Still, something simply bothers me about this particular personality. I have not been able to quite put my finger on it. Fortunately, Ashley of Girl Loves Sports (@the_girl_loves) put her finger on it for me. I may be giving away readers, but her blog, at, has a few more bells and whistles than this one and is a quality sports read.

So check it out. You wouldn't have this thought provoking opinion otherwise. The following is edited, primarily for size and content. The original article can be found on The Girl Loves blog.


Believe it or not there is a pretty sizable faction of Skip Bayless devotees who will consider this post tantamount to sports sac-relig, but then again, that same group probably also thinks Tim Tebow can carry a team to a Superbowl, so forgive me if I don’t value their opinions on matters. For those not in the know Skip is a television personality on the ESPN morning sports debate show ‘First and Ten’. The show on its face value is a decent enough one, as they speak about a myriad of sports topics that make up the day, and Skip is renowned for his brash and unapologetic no holds barred approach in his debates with present and past athletes and different celebrities. Skip has made his brand off being the quintessential know-it-all, and no one likes a know-it-all.

Far be it for me to bash Skip Bayless for taking the polarizing persona he’s created since the show’s inception and laughing all the way to the bank; by all means let the man make his money. What I don’t like is the spin off it's taken; I think it shows a lack of integrity on his part by trying to ‘feed the beast’ of the character he’s become.

But why beat around the bush? I’m just going to come out and say it: Skip Bayless as we know him on ‘First and Ten’ is a fraud; he’s fake, a figment of your imagination–for all intents and purposes he may as well be Santa Clause. He found a niche role and he fed off it. Skip Bayless plays the role of Jekyll; Hyde is for when the cameras turn off and he goes back home to Ernestine. ESPN is smart in how they’ve marketed Skip Bayless, they love his villain-esque role and the fact people feel so strongly about him one way or another it all generates into ratings–I’m talking about him right now, giving ESPN free publicity…see what I mean?

The "real" boss is to Bayless' right. 1


People applaud Skip for his ‘daring’ opinions that go against the status quo; the man dared to challenge the once cherished King James before it became popular. He was conducting the Tebow bandwagon before the rest of mainstream America even knew who he was in the pros…yadda yadda yadda. Since when did saying the first thing that pops into your head, outspoken or not, with pithy (if that) pieces of evidence count as edgy and provocative journalism? So because Skip Bayless uses his powerful platform to condemn Lebron James we’re supposed to sit back in our chairs mouths ajar and go ‘he is so brilliant!’.

Lets be realistic, Skip Bayless isn’t paid a handsome salary to sit and say the same things every other ESPN analysts says; he’s intentionally off the beaten path in his opinions. Skip has now gotten to the point in his popularity where’s he’s milking his claim to fame. He doesn’t even rely on tangible evidence to state his case; he’s turned into a buffoon who beats his fists on a desks and screams his thoughts to actual experts. And when I say actual experts, I mean former and current pro athletes–yeah, real athletes not ones who averaged a point per game off the bench in JV Basketball during High School *wink wink*


The most disturbing thing about Mr. Bayless isn’t even anything he’s necessarily done; it’s the legion of new generation sports fans who latch on his every word, and even seasoned sports fans who are goaded into buying the crap he tries to sell. People are quite simple, sports conversations and debates used to a thing of passion where people brought forth their own ideas to the table and tried to state his or her case.

Now sports debates revolve around ‘well skip said…,’ f__k Skip! Who the hell made him the bastion of All Things Sports? Since when did his opinion become the end all be all when talking sports? What happened to using stats, evidence from the game and general common sense when debating?

I understand the entertainment value that Skip brings, an older white guy going toe to toe with these millionaire black athletes and holding his own is appealing to a point, but take the show and his words with a grain of salt. Skip has put a premium on captivating larger ratings than actually using logic for the basis of his arguments. The success of people like Skip Bayless will only breed more ‘mini skips’ who gravitate to where the money is instead of speaking on behalf of the game itself.

Let Skip open his trap about Bountygate and my New Orleans Saints! 2

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