I don’t think Skip Bayless is a racist.
What I do think is Skip is a highly intelligent guy who in the immortal words of Ron Burgundy knows how to get the people going.
Times have change.
Years ago journalism was simply report the story and be buddy buddy with the athletes. Controversial editorials were frowned upon.
ESPN changed everything.
To me it started when Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann started to call their Sportscenter telecast THE BIG SHOW. From that point journalists saw the opportunity to become celebrities.
When Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser debuted PTI, journalists who had been limited to local papers saw they could become more than that.
The explosion of sports talk radio along with the rise of social media and sports blogs only added to it.
Skip is product of all of this. He always was a bit of a sensationalist, but he never had that huge outlet to express it until First Take. He used that outlet to his advantage and is now milking it for all it is worth. It has lead to scathing reviews like this one from Uncle Luke.
I have to hand it to Skip Bayless. The 60-year-old ESPN commentator is the Rush Limbaugh of sports journalism. He has built a cottage industry playing the role of the angry white guy on the show First Take, in which he debates other sports journalists and ex-athletes, usually African-Americans, on racially charged topics. For instance, in January 2011, Bayless caused a ruckus when he applauded the fact that L.A. Clippers star Blake Griffin is half Anglo. “Yeah, I’ll be the first to admit on national TV that I take a little pride because he came from a white mother,” he said.
In fact, he has become one of the highest-paid sports columnists in the nation, as well as a recurring face on ESPN, where he dispenses his special brand of race baiting.
As sad as his commentary may be, Bayless represents the worldview of people just like him: middle-aged, middle-class white dudes who despise successful millionaire African-American athletes.
I don’t dislike Skip, because I recognize his hustle so to speak.
The reason they pair Skip with D-Level rappers and screamers like Stephen A. Smith is to make it more like WWE than a true sports debate.
Because true sports debates don’t bring in ratings, but WWE RAW is still the highest rated program on cable television.
I have a philosophy of not blaming the supplier, but the user. Skip Bayless and ESPN is just your pusher, no one forces you to snort the BS.
ESPN won’t have independent sports bloggers on to debate Skip, because we aren’t actors and would expose Skip for who he actually is.
Because everyone knows Wrestling is fake…….right?