Skip Bayless Hosts ‘Undisputed’ By Himself, Struggles To Explain Damar Hamlin Tweet
4:01 PM EST on January 3, 2023
Every hot-take artist's extensive body of work eventually catches up to them. No person is capable of issuing so many opinions at such a degree, and when the job is essentially goading people into turning on their TVs to get mad at your opinions, it doesn't take much more to get them really mad.
This is how 71-year-old Skip Bayless found himself flustered and alone on Tuesday morning's episode of his show Skip and Shannon: Undisputed. His co-host and counterpart Shannon Sharpe wasn't there for unspecified reasons, though Bayless said he would "look forward to seeing him tomorrow." Bayless was left to handle the fallout from his widely criticized tweet sent Monday night, approximately five minutes after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was transported off the field in an ambulance because he went into cardiac arrest.
To be generous, this was not Bayless's first thought on Hamlin's medical emergency. Minutes earlier, he had remarked on the unprecedented nature of the entire situation, the reaction of the players, and how it felt like more than a common football injury.
But the tweet that received the most attention and anger was the one where Bayless discussed how the NFL could resume this game at some point in the future. Maybe some people want to present this as a lesson on how things get taken out of context in today's online world, but it really feels like a lesson on tact. How to handle a suspended NFL game is a topic of legitimate interest, but it could've waited until there was more information on Hamlin, who as of early Tuesday morning is sedated and in critical condition. When a player's heart stops on the field, the concerns of a billion-dollar business should be second-order conversation at the very least.
It makes perfect sense that Bayless would be the one dumb enough to tweet this, because he exists as a heel. Not even a month ago, he goaded Sharpe into an abnormally tense shouting match when he said his co-host's Hall of Fame football career wasn't as good as Tom Brady's. Bayless can't be surprised that his remarks are always interpreted as coming from a fundamentally antagonistic person. That's why he gets paid.
Bayless tried to repair the damage on today's show by looking very sad and focusing on how Hamlin's injury made him feel. He revealed that his boss at Fox Sports 1 urged him to "clarify" his tweet. This is only a brief excerpt of his monologue, but you'll get a sense of how pathetic it was:
It's difficult to imagine Fox Sports 1 firing Bayless over this, especially since he's one of the faces of the network. This could be a moment that people will one day point to as the beginning of the end for Bayless, but that would be to misunderstand the nature of his purpose. It was only a couple of years ago that he claimed Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was giving opponents bulletin board material by admitting that he had depression after his brother's suicide. Fox Sports will use him until advertisers want nothing to do with him.