There is a temptation to say that Skip Bayless is everything that is wrong with sports journalism except that nothing in sports journalism is nearly as bad as Skip Bayless. “Sports journalism” doesn’t belong in the same sentence as “Skip Bayless”: frankly, neither “sports” nor “journalism” does. He is the epitome of idiotic daytime television, and pretending that he’s in the same business as sportswriters and broadcasters (good ones and bad ones alike) is false equivalence at its worst. You would never say that Wendy Williams and Tom Brokaw are in the same business. You shouldn’t pretend Skip Bayless occupies the same plane of existence as Bob Costas either. It’s pretty much the same thing.
What was most depressing about Derek Jeter being “accused” by Skip Bayless of using PEDs – and “accused” is a verb that gives Bayless’s dipshittery far more credit than it deserves – is not that Bayless did it; this is what Bayless does. It’s that someone actually asked Jeter about it. He had to give a legitimate response. And then that response itself becomes news, with the headline “Jeter brushes off PED talk.” There is no talk. There is only Bayless.
Jeter’s befuddled response was completely right, and still didn’t get it. “You can say whatever you want to say now, huh?” he said. “There’s no repercussions.” Actually, Derek, there are repercussions: You get people talking about you all the time, and you probably get a raise.
The problem is not Skip Bayless; he is simply being Skip Bayless, Numbnut. The problem is us. We all listen to him and quote him and can’t believe how outrageous he’s being, tsk tsk, tsk tsk, oh jeez, look what he’s doing now, that’s totally over the line, let’s let him kick off another news cycle. This is a daytime television shock jock – not even a good one – and people act like what he says has any connection to the physical world we all inhabit. This is just making him stronger.
So just stop. No more watching, but if you watch, no more quoting. No more acting as if Bayless has anything to contribute, and no mentioning him, even if it’s to make fun of him or to mock him. He is forcing his way into every sports story, simply by being an ass. Only we can stop him.
We’re going to start right now. After this post, anyway.
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