The latest media member vs. athlete feud features FS1’s Skip Bayless and Portland’s CJ McCollum. This beef began after McCollum had enough of Bayless’ non-stop criticism of Kawhi Leonard. This led to Bayless responding on television and some more tweets from McCollum. McCollum was winning early on, but crumbled late as he followed with what many athletes have done when fighting with Bayless: criticizing his high school playing career.
Certainly, it’s easy to understand why the per-game average is often used as a response burn from players who average much more than that at a much higher level. However, it’s actually an incredibly unproductive response and an automatic L when used. By following Jalen Rose’s lead and bringing this up, it shows two things:
- The athlete can no longer defend what they are arguing about.
- The athlete can’t find any way to knock Bayless’ real career.
The first one is rather obvious. As soon as they change the subject to Bayless’ high school playing days, it quickly shows the athlete is out of ammo and is trying to change the subject while Bayless has much left to say. If they are going to make it personal, which is another argument, they must go after what really matters: His media career.
It’s the media’s job to criticize and they should be subject to push back and receive the same. Nobody is disputing that. But like Bayless said when he got into it with Richard Sherman years back, if it gets personal, it becomes your field vs. my field.
What type of player Bayless was in high school is irrelevant to his job. Many that talk sports for a living didn’t even play in high school. Playing at a low level is no knock when it comes to credibility on-air. This is not two NBA players arguing, it’s player vs. pundit. That low average sure didn’t play a role in his $6.5 million annual salary now, did it?
Many find Bayless’ style and career loathsome. There are several ways to go after him regarding what he has done in the media. It wouldn’t be hard to find a large group of people who consider him most unbearable media member in the entire United States. His lack of topic depth, annoying tweets, authenticity, ratings (depending on the FS1 factor), predictions, reactions, pettiness, and how seriously he takes the debates are all much better, deeper, and more effective ways to give it back to him. Again, if the idea is to fire back personally.
But bringing up the fact you could beat him on the court doesn’t accomplish, well, anything outside of making you look like a dope. This would be the equivalent of Bayless going after LeBron James for the way he writes columns. Or a mechanic getting mad at their doctor and telling them they can’t fix cars as well as they can.
Say what you want, but every time these things occur, it ends with the athlete getting upset, trying to go low, missing the point, failing, and Bayless winning and walking out with little battle wounds.