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Professional athletes and legacy-verified Twitter accounts have called for FS1 to fire Skip Bayless for a tweet regarding Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac arrest on the field during “Monday Night Football.”
Bayless tweeted as follows:
“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.”
Perhaps the post was untimely. At the time, Hamlin had just required CPR on the field. Later, a local hospital sedated him while putting a breathing tube down his throat.
The health of the 24-year-old certainly takes priority over the standings of the National Football League.
Still, Bayless’ comment was hardly the egregious, cancelable thought-crime his critics state.
Two thoughts spread through the minds of the football world in the aftermath of Hamlin’s collapse, in order:
- Hamlin’s well-being.
- The status of a season-altering matchup. (A Bills win increases their chances of a first-round bye from 44% to 86%. A loss drops that number to 5%, per FiveThirtyEight.)
Skip Bayless did not dispute that. Again, he tweeted, [The outcome of the game] suddenly seems so irrelevant.”
To say the status of the matchup was not a topic at hand is disingenuous. Of course, the resumption of a matchup with top-seed ramifications was a wonder had among players, fans, and league executives.
Not mutually exclusive
Curiosity about the game’s postponement is not mutually exclusive to concerns about the health of Hamlin.
Certainly, Bayless was not the only one to share both thoughts. ESPN analyst Booger McFarland opined during the broadcast that the NFL was already considering the state of the game in the moment.
“That’s kind of how they run their business,” said McFarland.
According to the same broadcast, the NFL planned to resume action after a five-minute warmup period before Bills coach Sean McDermott approached his counterpart, Zac Taylor. McDermott and Taylor then opted to take their players to the locker room. For what it’s worth, Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations, denies ESPN’s claim.
The NFL had to address the status of the Bills-Bengals, even as the second priory. Tuesday, the league announced the Bills-Bengals matchup would not resume this week, but perhaps at a later date.
Simply, Skip Bayless shared the same two thoughts of the millions watching the broadcast. Except, he wondered aloud.
Thus the outcry, ordering FS1 to terminate him immediately:
WE NEED TO CANCEL @RealSkipBayless ASAP!!!— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) January 3, 2023
I hope they fire you bro!!! For you to even THINK of the game is very sad.— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) January 3, 2023
Calls for Bayless’ job continue as of publication.
Per usual, a few notable individuals publicizes their outrage, sparking a never-ending pile-on. Call it the Twitter Mob, if you wish.
Social media users just want to fit, garner retweets, and pretend as if they matter. And today, there’s no better way to gain traction than call for Bayless’ job, hoping your tweet appears atop the trending section under “Skip.”
The outrage is as opportunistic as it is hypocritical.
You see athletes and fellow media members show such disdain for Bayless’, at worst, untimely tweet and ask why their outcries are so selective.
Notice no such fury ensued when ESPN commentator Mark Jones shared tweets celebrating that 49ers linebacker Nick Bosa tore his ACL a few seasons ago. Jones promoted posts saying Bosa deserved to suffer a severe injury.
Why? Because Bosa — wait for it — stood for the National Anthem:
One could argue that wishing for ill on a player exceeds asking when a game could resume.
Apparently, the sports world disagrees. Or at least they do when a black commentator is the one wishing harm on a white player.
OutKick asked ESPN PR executive Josh Krulewitz for comment on Mark Jones’ behavior and how it compares to Bayless’. ESPN did not respond.
Likewise, the network would not comment on analyst Bart Scott falsely accusing Bengals receiver Tee Higgins of lowering his helmet, thereby causing Hamlin to suffer cardiac arrest.
“Offensive players can’t use the crown of their head – helmet – as a weapon, which is kind of what Tee Higgins did and I’m not trying to put the blame on Tee Higgins, but that’s something that they tried to take out,” Scott commented on “First Take.” Right before the tackle he lowers his helmet and he kind of throws his body into his chest. He’s standing up because he thinks he has to chase Tee Higgins at an angle to make a tackle so he didn’t expect Tee Higgins to launch his body back into him.”
Scott spread a lie. As the video proves, Higgins did not lower his helmet. Instead, Higgins hit Hamlin with his shoulder.
Obviously, baselessly accusing a player of causing a life-threatening injury is far more egregious than anything Skip Bayless tweeted Monday, or any day. Yet there are no calls for ESPN to fire, or even address, Bart Scott’s bigotry.
What’s the difference between Skip Bayless and Mark Jones and Bart Scott? Why the disparate reaction?
Is it because Bayless is white and they are black? Is it because Bayless is a target and they are sacred cows of social media?
Or is it because Skip Bayless is successful and Bart Scott struggles to speak coherently on television and Mark Jones rides backstage politics to remain employed?
A “yes” applies currently to each of the above.
Ultimately, some thoughts are better left not publicized to 3.5 million followers, Bayless’ total Twitter following. But poorly-timed honesty is not a fireable offense in any sane society.
Unfortunately, we are a society that defers to the loudest wing of social media. And that wing demands the immediate firing of Skip Bayless.