When Fox Sports hired Skip Bayless last August, at least one network employee was quite displeased about it.

Days after the hiring was announced, Fox NFL analyst Troy Aikman told Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch he was angry with the network for bringing Bayless aboard. Aikman, Deitsch reported, still resented Bayless for reporting rumors that Aikman was gay in a 1993 book about the Dallas Cowboys.

Well apparently FS1 executives were as angry about Aikman’s comments as Aikman was about their hire. On an episode of the SI Media Podcast published Thursday, Deitsch shared the following:

“They were beyond furious when Troy Aikman made his comments to me about Skip Bayless. I believe there were some FS1 executives who wanted [Fox Sports president] Eric Shanks to fire Troy Aikman, which in itself is nonsense.”

Deitsch brought up the subject during a conversation about inter-Fox feuds, such as the recent one between Clay Travis and Nick Wright. He speculated that the Aikman-Bayless situation was different because Aikman is not paid for his opinion.

“These opinionists, maybe the brass at Fox likes when they fight. Whereas maybe if it’s a quote-unquote straight or traditional person like Aikman, they get very upset when he criticizes one of the talent. Because Aikman has credibility in the marketplace, where if Skip Bayless lights his junk on fire, no one’s going to care either way.”

Podcast guest John Ourand pointed out that the FS1 executives were probably angry at Aikman for going to another publication to bash Bayless, as opposed to doing it on Twitter—or on a Fox platform.

There are several other reasons FS1 execs might have been upset with Aikman for going after Bayless. For one thing, they had just hired Skip and hoped to make him a face of their network. Unlike Travis, he was a real golden boy, front and center in their content strategy. Additionally, Aikman was rehashing an embarrassing incident from two decades earlier. Some at Fox must have wondered why the Hall of Famer hadn’t moved on in the two decades since Bayless’ book (and maybe why calling a straight man gay was such an insult, to begin with).

Whatever the reasons, FS1 executives apparently did not want Aikman questioning the integrity of their new poster boy.

Here’s what Aikman said about Bayless back in September, so you can judge for yourself whether it was worth the executives’ reported anger.

“To say I’m disappointed in the hiring of Skip Bayless would be an enormous understatement,” Aikman said. “Clearly, [Fox Sports president of national networks] Jamie Horowitz and I have a difference of opinion when it comes to building a successful organization. I believe success is achieved by acquiring and developing talented, respected and credible individuals, none of which applies to Skip Bayless.”

Around the time of Bayless’ hiring, there were murmurs that Aikman might not be long for Fox, but he’s still there (with an extension) and still the analyst on the network’s top NFL broadcasting team. Clearly Bayless and Aikman won’t be hanging out at any Christmas parties, and it seems Aikman and the FS1 brass won’t be yukking it up together, either.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • Christopher K. Smith

    “I believe success is achieved by acquiring and developing talented, respected and credible individuals, none of which applies to Skip Bayless”. Nothing about that is personal or inaccurate.

    • Wandawgreen

      my best friend’s step-mother makes $85 hourly on the computer . She has been fired from work for nine months but last month her pay check was $17089 just working on the computer for a few hours. see it here ++++++++++

  • souvien

    Bayless, Cowherd, Travis, Whitlock…that is truly a gaggle of unfathomable pinheadery that FS1 has gathered….

    • inku palios

      Both Clay Travis & Jason Whitlock need to keep their conservative views to themselves or go on their friends on Fox News.

      • PAI

        Do you share the same of EVERY person at ESPN? Is Whitlock an Uncle Tom to you or something?

      • crs44

        But it’s ok to put forth one’s liberal views? What a dumb comment.

    • AmazingSpiderHam


  • Blaise O’Connor

    If Skip Bayless is the poster boy of FS1, then they have serious problems.

    • Tomsd1


  • MrBull

    Wonder how the Fox Sports Executives would feel and react if they were called gay by Bayless…..

  • Tomsd1

    Is the author – Alex Putterman – gay? 🙂

    • Charles Rogers

      Are you Skip Bayless?

  • Parts

    Gosh, whatever were they expecting Troy to say? Troy is not very good on NFL broadcasts, but he hit the nail on the head with his analysis of the Bayless hire.

  • Mack McClure

    Odd, I always thought Skip Bayless was a homosexual.

  • Jason H.

    They wanted to fire the top analyst for the NFL for Skip Bayless…..Skip Bayless. Yeah, that’s absurd.

    I guess they think you could put a trained chimp in the booth and it wouldn’t make a difference in the ratings. Which is probably true, but it’d still be a dumb idea.

  • AmazingSpiderHam

    Bayless tweets at himself saying good job. Aikman is right to say crap about Bayless.

  • Tomsd1

    No – but Skip is my Buxxxx !! 🙂

  • Jeff Johnson

    “…maybe why calling a straight man gay was such an insult, to begin with.” Just for the record, it IS an insult. I would think a gay man would be equally insulted if he were called straight. It goes to the crux of who a man is.


      Maybe, but the larger point is if in their minds it isn’t such an insult, then they must ask why the hell would Bayless put that in his book in the first place? Bayless knew exactly what he was doing – smearing Aikman as a fake and a liar simply so Bayless could sell books.

      • Jeff Johnson

        Absolutely right, sir. Bayless is in everything only for Bayless.

      • captain


  • captain

    ESPN would just love to hire Aikman
    Good for Troy, for calling it like it is
    Bayless is a slime ball