SBD/August 24, 2012/Media

ESPN's Skip Bayless At It Again With Latest Comments Directed Toward Derek Jeter

Bayless is being accused of supporting ideas solely to benefit ratings
ESPN’s Skip Bayless Wednesday insinuated that Yankees SS Derek Jeter may have taken HGH, the latest sign that "ratings are all that matters" to Bayless and the producers of "First Take," according to Bob Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The employment future of “all involved in the show depends on those ratings,” and if "smearing Jeter helps Bayless & Co. reach their ratings goals, and keep their jobs, then it’s well worth the effort.” Accountability "finished a distant fifth," and if Jeter “is collateral damage, so be it.” Bayless' "greatest skill is knowing what button to push." Raissman: "He infuriated those who have no use for Tim Tebow by becoming the QB's official cabana boy. Bayless took his love affair to the extreme because he saw it juicing the ratings" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/24). FOXSPORTS.com’s Peter Schrager wrote every few weeks or so, Bayless “says something ... that ticks off everyone in [the] sports media world.” Like clockwork, “someone with a verified account tweets about Bayless’ stupidity, the rest of the sports media world chases after the bone with wagging tongues, and it -- somehow, someway -- becomes a ‘story.’” Schrager: “It’s a vicious cycle, one that repeats itself far too often, and one that can cause right-minded people great frustration.” Bayless “knows what he’s doing and the result of his chicanery.” ESPN “knows that whatever formula Skip’s concocted, it’s working.” And the same writers “that pound their fists and pump out 140 character tweets at whatever trash he throws out there, know that it’s coming.” But Bayless was actually “once a widely respected master of his craft.” He drifted “out of the public eye for some time in the 2000s but is no doubt enjoying a career revival.” Schrager: “If buzz and ratings are his objectives, Bayless is achieving and exceeding his goals by a mile” (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/23).

SAYING WHATEVER'S ON HIS MIND: In N.Y., Will Leitch wrote there is a “temptation to say that Skip Bayless is everything that is wrong with sports journalism except that nothing in sports journalism is nearly as bad as Skip Bayless." Leitch: “‘Sports journalism’ doesn't belong in the same sentence as ‘Skip Bayless:’ frankly, neither ‘sports’ nor ‘journalism’ does. He is the epitome of idiotic daytime television, and pretending that he's in the same business as sportswriters and broadcasters (good ones and bad ones alike) is false equivalence at its worst.” However, the problem is not Bayless; it “is us,” as we all “listen to him and quote him and can’t believe how outrageous he’s being” (NYMAG.com, 8/23). YAHOO SPORTS’ Kevin Kaduk wrote the only repercussion that Bayless will face for the Jeter comment “is adding another piece to the case that he’s a contrarian windbag who sold his soul to the devil and will say anything to grab a headline.” Of course “that's balanced out by the fact that Bayless is handsomely rewarded by ESPN to act in such a manner.” Kaduk: “We're playing right into their hands by making this a big deal when we really should simply be waiting for ol' Skip and his co-horts to return to their full-time jobs of saying ‘Tim Tebow’ over and over again while banging a pair of cymbals like a toy monkey” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/23). SportsNet N.Y.'s Sal Licata said, "How can you put any credence in what these guys have to say? It's one thing after another just to grab headlines. They lose all credibility right there. That's why you can't pay attention to it" ("Daily News Live," SportsNet N.Y., 8/23).
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