First Take has done it again!
One of the worst shows on television, which has routinely gotten in trouble for stepping out of line with baseless and offensive social commentary, has done it again.
Skip Bayless recently said something so incendiary that it’s difficult to fathom someone actually speaking these words in public. After discussing Cowboys RB Joseph Randle’s arrest and subsequent endorsement deal, Bayless had the gall to suggest that Kobe Bryant’s rape trial in Eagle, Colorado helped him sell sneakers and made him marketable.
Here’s the transcript of Bayless’ remarks, just in case they didn’t sink in the first time:
“Remember Kobe pre-Eagle, Colorado? He failed in his first sneaker deal because he was just too clean cut and I think it was Adidas that had him first, correct me if I’m wrong, but he couldn’t sell sneakers because he didn’t have enough edge. But then post-Eagle, Colorado it brought a little attention to him, like it gave him a little bit of sizzle.”
The mortified reaction by host Cari Champion says it all. The fact that she has to sit between Bayless and Smith every day makes her the most underpaid person on television.
By this logic, Ray Rice should be ready to make a fortune right now. Maybe Stephen A. Smith could be his marketing director.
Does Bayless cite any facts to prove this statement? Of course not. In fact, Bryant lost multiple sponsorship deals because of that sexual assault trial. Nike, who stood by Bryant, didn’t even use his image in public ads for two years after charges were first filed.
So was it sexual assault charges that brought Bryant “sizzle” and sold sneakers? Or was it a huge marketing campaign from Nike after the storm had passed? Was it the fact that Bryant was the best player in the NBA in the mid-2000s by a wide margin? Bayless doesn’t stop to consider these things, and why would he, that’s not what ESPN pays him for. Instead, he walks into a bear trap of his own making by unbelievably starting with “sexual assault charges” and ending with “sizzle.”
As if any human being would actually think, “You know, I think I’m going to finally buy Kobe’s sneakers now because he was accused of sexual assault. That kid’s got edge because he doesn’t believe no means no.”
Go ahead and etch these comments about sexual assault sizzle next to Rob Parker calling RGIII a cornball brother and Stephen A. Smith saying women bring domestic violence upon themselves.
Every time you think you’ve seen it all from this show, it finds a deeper gutter to crawl into. But don’t blame Bayless entirely. Blame ESPN. They continue to air this daily two hour live action horror film every weekday morning solely for ratings. They continue to blindly believe that having their hosts say things like “sexual assault trials help sell sneakers” only has a positive affect on the ESPN brand.
So here’s a tip to all you athletes out there that may be a little too vanilla straight from Skip Bayless. Go get charged with sexual assault and the endorsement money will roll in.