No one wants to see these two fight.
Just last week, sports talk television fans were in shambles as it appeared as though Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were fighting. It all started when Stephen A. went on JJ Redick’s podcast and claimed that Skip was struggling at ESPN before he showed up and boosted the ratings.
Skip was completely flabbergasted by this retelling of events, and it led to a very heartfelt response on his show, where he seemed deeply betrayed by what Smith had said.
“I thought, ‘how could my brother Stephen A. turn on me like that?’ On me? Seriously?” Bayless said. “Stephen A. was suggesting that he saved and then made First Take. How can you save and make a show that was already as big a billion-to-one success story as ESPN had ever seen? The ratings and the revenues were impossibly great when Stephen A. joined me in 2012. With Stephen A. as my partner, First Take would never touch the NFL Monday ratings that it hit in 2011 pre-Stephen A. And I had taken First Take as far as I could? Seriously? I was just getting started. The rocket had just launched the year before in 2011. Stephen A., how dare you.”
Eventually, Smith issued a statement on Twitter where he basically said that not once did he ever lie about Bayless or the state of affairs. Smith claims he was simply relaying facts that had been told to him by higher-ups at the network.
“Skip Bayless is my brother,” Stephen A. said. “I will always love this man and I will always be grateful. No matter how far I continue to climb, I have him to thank. My comments about the state of First Take at that time is what I was told. It certainly wasn’t meant to slight my brother.”
In the aftermath of all of this, the two decided to take it out, and now, all is well. On the latest episode of his show, Skip noted that he sat by his pool with Stephen A. over the weekend, and they were able to hash things out. This eventually led to one final exchange on Twitter where Stephen A. said “The love is always here, my brother. Always! We Are Good!”
These two are legends of the sports talk television world, and you never want to see them fight publically as they did last week. Hopefully, this latest reunion could lead to yet another show between the two, in the future.