For the second time this month, a host of FS1’s Undisputed found themselves embroiled in a self-inflicted controversy. And for the second time this month, a host of FS1’s Undisputed had to awkwardly address the incident on the show.
Three weeks ago, it was Skip Bayless trying to defend himself against nearly the entire country after firing off an insensitive tweet. Friday night, it was Shannon Sharpe trying to defend himself against nearly the entire Memphis Grizzlies roster after firing off some jeers at Dillon Brooks.
ESPN video of Shannon and the Grizz + Tee Morant pic.twitter.com/wSbKc1jLz1
— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) January 21, 2023
Monday morning, Sharpe closed the first segment of Undisputed by addressing the incident with a lengthy apology. Bayless was notably in his usual seat as Sharpe addressed the altercation. When it was Skip’s turn to address a controversial incident earlier in the month, Sharpe was infamously absent from the show. Amazingly, Bayless was able to stay silent for three minutes, giving Sharpe the floor to apologize without interruption.
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) January 23, 2023
“As you probably have heard or seen, Friday night at the Lakers game, I want to apologize for my behavior,” Sharpe began. “You know guys, I’ve preached for the last six and a half years, responsibility and accountability.”
Not only has Sharpe preached responsibility and accountability, but in 2021, he slammed courtside fans for crossing the line when jawing with NBA players. In recent years, there seems to be an increased number of courtside fans getting into verbal spats with players. Sharpe, a Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and high-profile media member was that fan at the Los Angeles Lakers game Friday night, jawing with several Grizzlies players and family members to the point where the Undisputed host had to be briefly escorted off the court. While in the tunnel with security, Sharpe spoke to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and explained that the altercation began because the Grizzlies couldn’t handle his taunts.
“They didn’t want this smoke, Dave,” said Sharpe. “They do all the talking and jockeying and I ain’t about that jockeying. It started with Dillon Brooks. I said he was too small to guard LeBron. He said, ‘F—‘ me. I said, ‘F— you back. He started to come at me and I said, ‘you don’t want these problems.’ And then Ja came out of nowhere talking. He definitely didn’t want these problems. Then the dad came and he obviously don’t want no problems. But I wanted anything they had. Don’t let these fools fool you now.”
Sharpe spoke openly about the incident Friday night to ESPN, but with tempered emotions and an FS1 mic in front of him, the Hall-of-Famer’s tone sounded much different, appearing remorseful for putting himself in the spotlight.
“I take full responsibility for what transpired,” Sharpe continued on Undisputed. “It does not matter what Dillon Brooks said or how many times he said it. Me being the responsible person, me having the platform that I have and having so many people look up to me, I was wrong. I should have lowered the temperature in the arena, instead, I turned the temperature up and I let it get out of hand.”
“I was wrong,” Sharpe said. “I’m never gonna be too big to say I’m sorry. I’m never gonna be too big to say I’m wrong. And in that situation, I was absolutely wrong.”
The strong apology by Sharpe completely contrasted Bayless when he needed to answer for his own actions earlier this month. Unlike Sharpe, Bayless thought he was too big to say sorry and too big to say he was wrong. Instead of acknowledging his poorly timed tweet, Bayless doubled down and defended his actions.
Undisputed appears to have gone all in on the proverbial saying ‘any publicity is good publicity’ since the start of the New Year. Amid reports that Skip and Shannon’s relationship is on the fritz, Bayless sent arguably the most controversial tweet of his career, Sharpe missed an episode of the show, the duo had the strangest open in sports debate show history, and Sharpe appeared legitimately willing to fighting an entire NBA team mid-game. Can’t wait to see what happens next.