Skip Bayless has done it again.
The First Take anchor has stirred up a hornet’s nest with his latest ridiculous comment. On air Monday morning, Bayless tried to create a Washington Redskins quarterback controversy between Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins by saying:
“I’m going to throw it out there, you also have the black/white dynamic and the majority of Redskins fans are white and it’s just human nature if you’re white to root for the white guy. It just happens in sports. Just like the black community will root for the black quarterback.”
He then went on to say, “I’m for the Black guy.” The Black Guy. He insensitively summed up arguably the best quarterback in this season’s draft, a world-class hurdler, and a Heisman trophy winner as the Black Guy.
Many people have become tired of the seemingly racist undertones of Skip’s comments and are turning away from First Take and ESPN as a whole.
I have to confess that I do not watch First Take any more. What was once a decent sports talk show has devolved into an unwatchable shouting match with Bayless playing the part of a rodeo clown.
The whole format of the show is set up for Skip to set the debate by saying something outrageous, but this is going too far. He is intentionally trying to pit races against each other.
There has always been a perceived undercurrent of racism on First Take. The White hosts seem to always take the side of White players and deride Black players and Black hosts take the Black side. Whether this is planned or it’s just the way things shake out on live TV is not certain. And that is one of the reasons I stopped watching.
I don’t think it is an accident that ESPN has paired Bayless with Stephen A. Smith. Now, every morning, we have Black versus White on every subject. Bayless and Company try to boil down every argument to its simplest form; good versus bad, right versus wrong, and now, Black versus White.
It’s not much of a stretch to see some racism in Skip’s on air opinions. How else do you explain his irrational hatred for LeBron James (the best player in the NBA who is Black) and his devotion to Tim Tebow (who can’t throw a football with any consistency and is White)?
At one point in his career, Skip Bayless was a well respected sports writer (it seems impossible, but it’s true). But once he became a TV personality he happily tossed aside all those pesky ethics and professionalism that he spent so many years cultivating.
He seems only too happy to exploit the Black/White dynamic in sports to gain ratings for his show. What he, and ESPN, fail to realize is that sports fans are becoming tired of this narrative.
First Take has been losing viewers lately. Nothing dramatic, but people are becoming fed up and are changing the channel. Perhaps Bayless and ESPN are trying to get viewers back by saying incendiary things on the air and creating controversy. Every TV show needs to attract viewers, but race-baiting is not the way to do it.
Israel is a sports blogger, contributor to GlobalGrind.com and owner of SportsBrosWorld.com