Dan Le Batard offered reaction to Skip Bayless leaving ESPN. He sees some parallels between what the First Take co-host is doing and star athletes who jump to new teams.
“The ego of these guys is such that they don’t believe they’re choosing money over winning,” Le Batard said on his show this morning. “They believe they are going to make the difference. It’s happening right now in the sports opinion business. I told Colin Cowherd not to leave this spot. We were having conversations — now I’m revealing private conversations that I shouldn’t be — even though it would have benefited us, I was telling Colin Cowherd I don’t think you leave. You leave, you’re going to get lost, you’re going to do it for money and no one’s going to know where to find you. We don’t do this to have your voices stuffed in a drawer; we do this to be heard.”
Bayless’ decision to leave ESPN after 12 years has fueled speculation that he’s headed to Fox Sports to join Jamie Horowitz’s rapidly expanding stable of opinion makers. Wherever Bayless lands, it will come with a significant price tag.
“Skip Bayless doesn’t think he’s going for money,” Le Batard continued. “Skip Bayless thinks he’s going to make a difference. And he’s not. What’s been happening with the athletes is happening in the gasbag business.”
Le Batard has repeatedly referred to himself as a gasbag so his use of the term to describe Bayless is a more of a molehill than a mountain.
Many will see this as a shot across the bow of the good ship Bayless and Fox Sports. When you parse out Le Batard’s comments, they are a pretty easy to accept. Cowherd’s show outperforms LeBatard’s in the ratings but is positioned much higher in its respective food chain. Cowherd’s arrival on the West Coast was not followed by a meteoric rise in popularity yet, and we’ll see if the combination of adding multiple prominent ESPN personalities has a cumulative effect.
What Le Batard is saying isn’t some new revelation either. Talent leaving Bristol for greener pastures and fatter wallets hasn’t always gone smoothly. Dan Patrick referred to the phenomenon as ESPN muscles.
Le Batard’s prediction isn’t entirely bold considering the past. Whether ESPN wants him offering it on air — especially while the two are still together under the company umbrella — is a question I don’t have the answer to.
What I will say is that the segment made for real, honest radio and found a way to include one of the biggest sports stories of the day into the broadcast organically.
Considering Bayless’ controversial nature, it likely won’t be the only time his name finds its way onto other ESPN platforms — and the discussion won’t always be peppered with rainbows and butterflies.