Skip Bayless found himself embroiled in one of the biggest controversies of his career earlier this year after his untimely tweet about Damar Hamlin. But Bomani Jones says that tweet wasn’t wrong.
When Buffalo Bills safety Hamlin tragically went into cardiac arrest during Monday Night Football in January, the belief that the game could not continue was nearly unanimous. Bayless, however, took to Twitter and insensitively wondered how the NFL could logistically postpone the game, considering the playoff implications carried by the matchup.
Everyone was quick to pile on Bayless for the tweet, but according to Jones, the harsh reaction was an example of “the ridiculous outrage machine of social media.” Jones joined the Awful Announcing Podcast this week, and while complimenting Bayless’s TV prowess, he also defended the brash host after he was made into a villain.
“The Damar Hamlin tweet, everybody else was wrong, Skip was not,” Jones said. “Every single person that came and brought that hammer down on Skip was wrong. That was the ridiculous outrage machine of social media looking for somebody to gang up on and they found the guy to gang up on and it was Skip Bayless.”
“Now, the argument against Skip in that case is that he is a professional communicator and he did not communicate in a way that was very clear to everybody and maybe you could say that was his fault,” Jones acknowledged. “I could have said the same exact thing Skip said and people wouldn’t have brought it to me because people don’t feel the way about me that they feel about Skip, which is very simply, ‘They can’t keep playing this game, however, they can’t stop this game, what in the world are they to do?’”
At the time of Bayless’s tweet, Hamlin was fighting for his life. Amazingly, in the months since he went into cardiac arrest on the field, Hamlin has been cleared to play football following a remarkable recovery.
But it wasn’t just Twitter who was upset with Bayless for the tweet. His Undisputed co-host Shannon Sharpe was unexpectedly absent from their next show after the tweet, and when he ultimately returned a day later, it sparked one of the most awkward moments in sports debate show history.
People on social media called for Bayless to apologize, delete the message and be punished by Fox. Bayless admitted a Fox executive suggested he clarify the tweet as the backlash built, which he did, but the Undisputed host didn’t back down from his messaging. And according to Jones, that messaging wasn’t wrong, it just gave social media a reason to pile on Bayless.
“People assume that just because Skip can be a bit of a jerk that he is some callous, bad dude,” Jones said. “Which is absolutely, 100 percent not the case about him, from my experience with him.”