How do you know when a situation’s getting out of control? There are plenty of different metrics for figuring something like that out, but “when Drew Rosenhaus is acting as the voice of reason” should be pretty high on the list.
And wouldn’t you know, that’s what’s going on in the weird world of sports-related Twitter today. Apparently, Chad Ochocinco - who might be clinically insane - found out that ESPN’s favorite contrarian butthole Skip Bayless was A) on Twitter and B) not genuflecting at the Ochocinco altar. The Skip quickly hit the fan.
What started it was a series of Bayless tweets killing Ochocinco for not taking a hit in a preseason game:
Ocho Cinco caught a skinny post, had room to run at least 10 more yds. and went down w/o contact. Protecting self like he’s QB.
Ocho also kicker now. For some reason, Marvin Lewis let him kick extra point. Looked great. But why? For Hard Knocks? Marvin now ringmaster.
Thanks to Bengal fans for updating that Shane [sic] Graham hurt, so Ocho kicking. I’m watching 4 games. Ocho chickened out debating me on show.
Ochocinco didn’t take kindly to the tweets for some odd reason, and naturally interpreted it as a sign of insufficient virility on Bayless’ part and told his agent. Naturally. The ensuing conversation:
@OGOchoCinco: @RosenhausSports Drew @skipbayless is hating again to hate that much he must still be a virgin Drew somebody has to help him release da hate
@RosenhausSports: @OGOchoCinco it is a waste of your time and energy to even pay any attention to that nonsense.
@OGOchoCinco: @RosenhausSports okay I’ll go on about my day then, but damn him and Hugh Heffner need to switch places for a month, then he’d be fine!!!
@RosenhausSports: @OGOchoCinco LOL! That’s the attitude Chado!!
But Ocho’s fatal mistake is not realizing that he’s doing exactly what Bayless wants: reacting negatively to the stupid s–t that comes out of his mouth. Bayless doesn’t make arguments to be right, he makes them for a reaction. He’s like the Robert Mapplethorpe of talking. So realizing that the drama was over almost before it began, Bayless decided to rattle some cages with this thinly veiled taunt:
Every NFL has 2 or 3 tryout kickers in camp, except the cheap Bengals. Do they really want Ocho Kicko trying crucial FG? Please, child.
I don’t “hate.” I just tell the truth. And all you gullible Ocho lovers know it, deep down. Is this circus or NFL?
Uh oh. Ochocinco, then, fell further into the trap by reacting like any athlete would - proudly and incoherently:
@RealSkipBayless How the fu#% did you even get a job, whoever hired you gets a short bus child pleeze without the helmet!!! Paid 2 be dumb!
Attention:want a job at ESPN on first take: no sports background needed just the ability to say the dumbest shhh you can think of!!SkipSucks
Tsk tsk, Ocho. You’re letting Skip win. To wit, the smug, self-satisfied nail in the coffiin from Bayless that ended the miniature spat minutes later:
Again: Chad Whateverhisnameis has open invitation to debate me on 1st and 10. But apparently, he is even more afraid of me than of safeties.
As its Wikipedia entry efficiently states, judo “is characterized by the indirect application of force to defeat an opponent. More specifically, it is the principle of using one’s opponent’s strength against him and adapting well to changing circumstances.” And thus, Skip Bayless is the judo master, using Ocho’s aggression to bring it all back full circle to self-promotion of an ESPN show and come out as the “bigger man.”
It’s at once artful and troubling; artful in how he so easily manipulated Ochocinco into paying attention and reacting aggressively, and troubling because that should be nowhere near Bayless’ professional aspirations or tasks. Why is a journalist doing this to an athlete he’s ostensibly supposed to cover? If I started trying to pick a fight with Lou Piniella, for example, it’d be widely regarded as a gross perversion of journalism. Why’s Skip getting a pass? Because he’s always like this? How does that not make it, y’know, all the worse?