You might just know Skip Bayless as the blowhard on ESPN who says outrageous statements just to get attention. (Versus, basically, every other personality on ESPN who does exactly the same thing.) Among his greatest hits are his on-going hatred of LeBron James and his belief that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were boycotting a golf event because it was sponsored by Mercedes.
(ESPNer Bayless reiterated stand on Aikman’s sexual preference)
So you might be surprised - shocked, even - to learn that Bayless used to be more than a talking head seeking out controversy: he used to be a writer seeking out controversy. THE STARTING FIVE has Part One of an exhaustive interview with Bayless about his columns and books, focusing on his expose “Hell-Bent: The Crazy Truth About the’Win or Else’ Dallas Cowboys,” which created a scandal for allegedly “outing” Cowboys QB Troy Aikman. And Bayless isn’t backing down. Sort of.
First off, Bayless is disappointed that all people remember about the book is the “gay thing” - he is more proud of reporting that Aikman allegedly dropped an N-bomb on receiver Kevin Williams in a heated exchange on the sidelines. And Bayless never said Aikman was gay - he just reported that other people said Aikman was gay. Still, he’s sticking with his sources:
“A number of the Black players – with whom I was close – contended that he was bisexual.
They didn’t like him to start with because he was distant, knee jerk emotional, quick tempered. His friends on the team loved him for one reason and that was because he could play. When it was time to play, he performed.
Deep down…trust me…the stars on that team…the Black players…and you know who they are…they didn’t like the guy (Aikman).”
First off - see, Billy Wagner, Skip isn’t gay; he was close to the “Black players” on the Cowboys. (Although why “Black” is capitalized, I don’t know.) But secondly, the rumors about Aikman bring gay or bisexual were totally credible: players who hated him told Bayless that he was. And Barry Switzer told Bayless he had heard rumors as well, which I’m sure had nothing to do with the fact that the Switzer/Aikman relationship had turned into “open warfare” (Bayless’ own words).
A few other interesting notes from the interview:
- My wife made my birthday dinner this month using recipes from Bayless’ brother Rick’s cookbook. I don’t know how I feel about that.
- Bayless was part of the first “Sports Reporters” with Mitch Albom and Michael Wilbon, and Bayless the “original live wire” who learned how to push Wilbon’s buttons (but they are friends - see, he has black friends!) and created the format of “PTI”, “Around the Horn” and “1st and Ten.” I’m sure in his mind, he should be the one getting massive heat about ruining “Monday Night Football” instead of Tony Kornheiser.
- He pushes to have black debate partners, because he likes to have “both sides represented” - see he can’t be rac-…I think you get the idea.