Richard Sherman and Skip Bayless Credit: Undisputed

Even if you’re the kind of person who tries not to pay attention to what Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith get up to each day, there’s a pretty good chance you remember the infamous incident between Bayless and Richard Sherman on ESPN’s First Take back in 2013.

After being asked an innocuous question, the then-Seattle Seahawks star launched into a personal attack on Bayless, saying that he was “better at life” than the First Take host, who had “never accomplished anything.” That set Bayless off and the two went back and forth with Sherman adding that the TV host was an “ignorant, pompous, egotistical cretin.”

Bayless recalled the encounter last year, saying he felt “personally attacked.”

“He personally attacked me,” Bayless said of Sherman in 2022. “Unrelentingly attacked me. So much for ‘please no controversy today.’ I immediately felt ambushed, bushwhacked, set up, blindsided. I was suddenly…forced to fight without fighting. I had to defend myself with both hands tied behind my back.”

It would have been impossible to imagine at the time (or even as recently as last year) but Sherman and Skip are now buddies and co-hosts on FS1’s Undisputed. Sherman began his new stint on the program Monday, where he’ll do “50-100 shows” a year.

Sherman, Bayless, Keyshawn Johnson, and Michael Irvin spent time sparring for the first hour of the show (though Skip spent much of it moderating instead of leading). Later on, Undisputed returned from commercial and only Skip and Sherman were sitting at the desk across from one another. The two then took turns recounting the infamous incident, what was going on behind the scenes for both of them and how some extenuating circumstances may have caused the situation to spiral out of control.

According to Bayless, he and Smith were “auditioning for an afternoon show” on ESPN at the time and we’re also in “probation” due to some previous controversial moments. Along with that, he had been told that the outspoken Sherman didn’t want to discuss anything controversial, so Bayless says he let his guard down. However, when Sherman was still being prepped as the segment was going live, producers told the host to “vamp” and stall for time. That’s when he brought up Sherman’s own comparison to cornerback Darrelle Revis and expressed a sentiment that Sherman wasn’t quite on his level.

Sherman heard all of that, of course, and was completely worked up over Bayless’s comments by the time he joined the show. The NFL star felt like he had been disrespected right as he was getting ready to come on the show and it set him off.

“I got the numbers to always back up my case,” Sherman said. “If I ain’t got the numbers, I’m probably not making the case. So all I could hear is the disrespect in my ears, Skip … Not even like, ‘He’s in the same ballpark’ or, ‘He’s coming on.’ (Skip’s) like, ‘He’s not even in the same stratosphere.’

“I said, ‘OK, this is disrespect, Skip. I’m gonna have to respond to this as soon as possible.’ So when I get on the show, it was like the first chance I get it – I don’t care the question – I’m dropping.”

Bayless added that because of the probationary situation, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“I can’t really fight fire with my usual fire or this is going to blow up, not that it hadn’t already,” said Bayless. “So I’m playing against you with one hand tied behind my back. But I’m trying to hold in with you as best I can without creating a firestorm.”

Skip said that the incident did indeed torpedo their chances at that afternoon opportunity. However, he added that he ended up getting a lot of praise internally for the way he handled the situation.

“Yet the irony of all this was for me — in my lengthy career at ESPN — I got the highest marks for the way I handled myself that I ever got from the people upstairs,” said Bayless. “‘Oh, you didn’t stoop to mud-sling or fight fire with fire as you usually do. You stayed cool under fire.’ Well, I was trying to so we didn’t have another incident.”

The two former foes then offered each other the requisite kudos and appreciation for one another, noting how they felt like they came from similar backgrounds. Sherman also added that he thought the incident ended up being a positive in the end.

“I’m still grateful for our moment, Skip, because I think it was positive for both of us in the end,” added Sherman. “We know how to disrespect. I can’t wait for this show to continue and for us to go back and forth. I’m excited this is gonna be a lot of fun.”

With that, Bayless told Sherman that he loved him, the two of them shook hands, and then Skip introduced a segment about Aaron Rodgers. Time marches forward.

How long will the honeymoon last? If history has taught us anything…not too long. But good luck to these crazy kids in the meantime.


About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to