Stephen A. Smith disagrees with Skip Bayless on everything, but he always believes his former partner’s heart is in the right place.
Smith recently spoke to USA Today Sports about Bayless’s controversial Damar Hamlin tweet. After Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during Monday Night Football, and it became obvious that the NFL needed to postpone the game, Bayless insensitively wondered how the league could logistically do that considering the playoff implications carried by the matchup.
No doubt the NFL is considering postponing the rest of this game – but how? This late in the season, a game of this magnitude is crucial to the regular-season outcome … which suddenly seems so irrelevant.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 3, 2023
Bayless has been chastised for the tweet in recent days and despite calls for him to delete the post and apologize, the Fox Sports host has declined to do both. Bayless attempted to clarify the tweet, but he even admitted that came at the request of his Fox bosses. While Smith disagrees with the controversial tweet, he doesn’t seem inclined to join the growing number of critics slamming his former First Take partner.
“I’ve disagreed with Skip in the past, I disagree with him now, and I’m sure we’ll disagree in the future.”
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) January 3, 2023
“I’m not about to judge Skip Bayless or anybody else for saying the wrong thing,” Smith told USA Today Sports. “God knows I have (said the wrong thing). Intent matters. Yes, you’ve got to be sensitive out there. Mental health matters, life matters, human beings’ well-being matters. And when you speak, you have to make sure that you’re sensitive to everything that you can be sensitive to.”
“Skip can defend himself,” Smith continued. “I’ve spent years disagreeing with Skip Bayless, I disagree with him now, and I’m going to disagree with him into the future. But he’s still my brother, he’s still a guy that brought me here on First Take and I know who he is, I know what he’s about. Do I agree with everything that he says? Or how he says it? Or the timing with which he uses to say things? No. But the flip side to it is that I know, by and large his heart is in the right place and people make mistakes.”
Yes, people make mistakes, but Bayless made many throughout his career and fails to take accountability for them, which evades him of earning any benefit of the doubt. His current debate partner on FS1, Shannon Sharpe, appears to be fed up with Bayless’s need to spark controversy by being the contrarian. Sharpe left Bayless to host their debate show, Undisputed, by himself Tuesday morning. And when Sharpe returned to the show on Wednesday, he promptly asked Bayless to remove the controversial tweet, which sparked fireworks between both hosts.
Sharpe attempted to tell Bayless he was wrong and it didn’t go well. Smith similarly explained that he doesn’t hesitate to tell Bayless when he’s wrong.
“I don’t have any problem telling Skip, I’ll save that for Skip when I see him,” Smith said. “If your heart is in the right place, and you truly meant no harm, and you’re willing to apologize, this country has shown you on many occasions, it will allow you to move on.”
But Bayless doesn’t believe he made a mistake and he’s not willing to apologize, so why should he be allowed to move on? Bayless lacks accountability and Fox doesn’t demand it, making them a tough combo to watch.