Some of the discussion around racial discrimination is about differing treatment based on skin color or tone, or colorism. That’s an issue that’s been linked to wage inequality, exclusion from groups, and much more. Public discussion of someone’s particular skin tone carries a lot of potential pitfalls, especially considering how dividing people by skin tones has been done by colonial administrations and slaveowners in the past. And Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless dove right into that on Undisputed Friday, mocking Golden State Warriors’ guard and newly-crowned NBA Finals MVP Steph Curry as “little light-skinned Steph” (that remark comes at 5:36 below, as part of a larger rant starting at 5:06 against co-host Shannon Sharpe‘s claim that Curry should be considered amongst the NBA’s top 10 players of all time):
“I don’t care what Twitter says, I don’t care what anyone says, I just know what I did and did not see from little light-skinned Steph. There have been too many times when he got so light-skinned in the Finals I couldn’t see him any more, because he turned into a ghost. He just went ‘Poof!’ right before your very eyes.”
This prompted a lot of Twitter criticism. Here’s some of that:
Why does @ShannonSharpe laugh and allow this white man to disrespect black men the way he does @RealSkipBayless u dont get to say light skin steph. Yo this dude just say " what's not to knock" about @StephenCurry30 ? Yo this man has to be taken off the air @FOXSports
— HeavenHollywood (@TheHHXperience) June 17, 2022
A white man making lightskin jokes is allowed now? Skip a clown but we gotta draw the line some where. He movin like he Pac pic.twitter.com/RNALHNB1fl
— Beke (@BK9419) June 17, 2022
Nah why tf is Skip Bayless on TV talking about how light skinned Steph is and saying he was "more light skinned than ever". Am I crazy why is a white person making these comments????
— Arman Kai (@kai_arman) June 17, 2022
@RealSkipBayless Not sure why you referred to Steph Curry as “light-skinned” at least 3 times on Undisputed this morning but that is not okay.
— jvmxoxo (@jvmx0x0) June 17, 2022
Skip Bayless legit said “Steph Curry was so light skin in the finals that he turned into a ghost.”
The worst analyst on TV strikes again
— Rtlfaith (@Rtlfaith) June 17, 2022
Skip Bayless said Steph was actin’ lightskin. I don’t think he understands what he is saying and that he isn’t suppose to say it. ?????
— Tonosaman! Mmmm! (@loveychuhtha) June 17, 2022
We obviously don’t know Bayless’ intentions with these particular comments, or how aware he was of the history of and present problems with colorism when he made these remarks. But even with complete ignorance there, going in on an athlete’s physical appearance is problematic in its own right. And diving into colorism waters is particularly bad. There’s lots for Bayless to argue about with what Curry did on the court; his skin tone shouldn’t come into it.