Richard Sherman’s takedown of Skip Bayless on ESPN’s First Take nearly a decade ago was one of the most intense athlete vs journalist interactions in sports television history.
Never forget when Richard Sherman showed up on First Take and WENT OFF on Skip Bayless
"Im better at LIFE than you." ?? pic.twitter.com/nYtdqvn6W8
— ???? ?✈️ (@mldiffley) August 12, 2020
With Sherman recently reported to be in “deep talks” with Amazon about a broadcasting role, Bayless thought it was a good time to rehash their infamous feud.
According to Bayless, Sherman’s representatives put the request in for the star cornerback to join an episode of First Take in 2013. When an agreement was reached, it was done so with the caveat that Bayless and Stephen A. Smith would keep the conversation to offseason football, steering clear of the cornerback’s trash-talking controversies.
Bayless, supposedly expecting to talk football with Sherman, was promptly attacked on his own show by the second-year NFL star.
“He personally attacked me,” Bayless recalled on his podcast. “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.”
.@RealSkipBayless discusses his history with Richard Sherman: pic.twitter.com/HFyX7tCxNu
— The Skip Bayless Show (@SkipBaylessShow) May 12, 2022
The culmination of those attacks from Sherman came when he told Bayless, “I’m better at life than you are.”
“Richard then called me an ignorant, pompous, egotistical cretin,” Bayless remembered. “It was taking all my own willpower, to not fire back personally. To not fight fire with fire.”
Let’s not act like Bayless is completely innocent, however. He may not have started an argument with Sherman at that moment, but the polarizing sportscaster has been known to go after athletes and go after them hard, sometimes with personal insults. Bayless has mocked athletes he doesn’t like with name-callings such as Russell Westbrick, Queen James, and Bosh Spice.
If an athlete is attacked and discredited for weeks, months, or years by Bayless or any sports talker, it’s hard to fault them for taking their shot as soon as they get an opportunity to do so. Sherman got his shot at Bayless in 2013 and he made the most of it.
“Live TV is about preparation and concentration,” Bayless said. “And Richard destroyed both for me because I was not prepared and then it was very difficult to concentrate while trying to save the show.”
Bayless sounds like he’s still bothered by the interview with Sherman and continues to wrestle with how he should have or could have better handled the situation. But Bayless can maybe take solace in the thought that if he’d taken a more aggressive approach and fired back at Sherman, his TV career may have been derailed.