Shannon Sharpe returned to Undisputed on Wednesday following a one-day abscense in the wake of the Damar Hamlin incident and ensuing Skip Bayless tweet about it. Sharpe opened the show with a monologue, but was cut off by Bayless within 41-seconds, leading to some of the most truly uncomfrorable television you will ever witness. Unable to continue, Sharpe eventually gave up and the pair moved on to talk about the team tied for the sixth-worst record in the NBA the morning after they didn't even play.
How are people not tired of this? The entire blowup between Skip and Shannon stems from a tweet from Bayless that probably wasn't intended to offend. For once. And that's the problem. Bayless has spent decades happily playing the troll and has profited greatly from it. No matter what his intention when he tweeted these things, he's earned people's doubt. He has built up no goodwill. If something looks like it's meant to entice someone to react, with him it usually is.
The worst part is his interruption of Sharpe during his monologue. Sharpe was so upset with Bayless that he called into work yesterday and Bayless couldn't even let him talk for a full minute before demanding the camera and attention be back on him saying something that he knew was going to upset someone.
Whatever Bayless' initial intentions with his tweets, they bothered people. They were not profound or important in any way other than eliciting a reaction. He could have taken the tweet down and people still would have been as upset as usual with him and it would have had the added benefit of looking human and contrite for a brief moment, lending credence to his claim that he didn't mean to offend. Also it would have been a gesture of good faith to his co-host and supposed friend Shannon Sharpe. Instead he thumbed his nose at him because it would mean losing a debate I guess? Who cares.
There are people who think this entire confrontation was staged this morning, again, because nothing Bayless has done over the last few decades has been genuine. The ultimate plan being that Bayless would look like a jerk again. Apparently Sharpe skipping work on Tuesday rather than having the conflict then was some sort of grand marketing ploy while Bayless pretended to twist in the wind doing the show alone yesterday. OK, I guess.
Whatever anyone's motivations for what has happened the last two days with Bayless, things seem grim for FS1 if this is the only way they can get anyone to talk about this show. And it certainly seems like that's the case. We cover sports media here and constantly stand amazed at how people can say things they clearly don't believe because it's the only way anyone will pay attention to them. Bayless leads the league in that.
It's his legacy and its insane that ESPN wanted Bayless back in 2021. This could have been their problem. Instead, it's the only thing FS1 has in this timeslot. If it was staged and it worked, expect even more cringe television in the coming days, weeks and months. It certainly seems like digging down is their only way of moving forward with Bayless. And if this is truly the attention he craves then he should enjoy while he can. Even if no one else appears to be.