CultureSunday 05.15.22

The Worst People in Sports, Part 1: Skip Bayless

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LZ and Will kick off a short series of segments on the worst people in sports — whether they be athletes, franchise owners – or in this week’s case – sports analysts.

FOX Sports’ Skip Bayless is as noxious as they come. He made a name for himself trolling LeBron James no matter how well the King performs on the court.

It doesn’t help that Skip, who built his career on credible reporting, is smart enough to know better. But instead of making his arguments based on his actual beliefs — who could really argue that LeBron James isn’t a great player? — he’s willing to play whatever side will get him the most attention, money, and influence. “There's a network for stupidity, and it's the highest grossing,” LZ says. “That's what Skip Bayless’ success has ushered in: a business model in which arguing for nonsensical things can be popularized, monetized, and actually make you an established figure in sports journalism.”

Will agrees. “That is what is wrong with all of media,” he says. “And I would argue sports has almost pioneered this.” He also lists some of the Bayless imitators that have fed the problem, like Colin Cowherd and Clay Travis.

Now LZ wishes the industry would dismantle that business model, though he says it’s tough to be optimistic: “I fear that we're never going to have a sports industry again in which people can have thoughtful, compelling debates using facts and sense.”

The Long Game