Sports analysts get paid to call out athletes

If you haven’t been following the Skip Bayless vs. Jalen Rose feud that took place earlier this week on ESPN2’s “First Take,” I’d highly suggest checking it out — it’s “hilarious”:http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=7800707&categoryid=6-140.

For those unfamiliar with “First Take,” it’s basically a louder, less entertaining version of “Pardon the Interruption” with Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. The show brings on different analysts, and the occasional athlete or celebrity, every day to voice their opinions on a variety of sports topics, and basically it’s Bayless’ job to actively disagree with everything they say. If it’s a slow sports day, the producers will usually just throw Stephen A. Smith on the show and have the two yell at each other for a while.

Before I go any further, I have to admit that I’ve always disliked Bayless. He’s ESPN’s version of Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern. He loves to be that controversial loudmouth who stirs things up to make people angry and ultimately watch his show. Bayless has a history of some moronic opinions: He would rather take Tim Tebow over Aaron Rodgers in a two-minute drill, he thinks the NBA regular season is more exciting than March Madness and kicking field goals is a silly way to decide football games.

Given his history of over-exaggerating things, it should have been no surprise when Bayless tweeted on March 31: “Tall for age in 9th grade, chosen MVP of state-wide basketball camp over several future D1 Players. Decided I was Maravich. Coach disagreed.” Followed by another tweet: “FYI: I started for high school team that lost in state finals. Coach didn’t like me b/c I shot too much and he wanted me to be more PG.”

Bayless found himself in a little trouble, however, when NBA Analyst Jalen Rose discovered that Bayless only averaged “1.4 points per game”:http://www.thelostogle.com/2012/04/09/skip-bayless-lied-about-his-prestigious-high-school-basketball-career/ during the season in question. Rose, channeling his “inner Terrell Suggs”:http://blacksportsonline.com/home/2012/01/terrell-suggs-calls-skip-bayless-a-douchebag-on-espns-first-take-video/, obviously jumped at the opportunity to call Bayless out on Tuesday’s show, saying he was “Water Pistol Pete Jr,” instead of the “Pistol” Pete Maravich that he compared himself to. Exposing this truth escalated into a heated confrontation between Rose and Bayless that exploded over Twitter and other social media. Bayless’ self-delusion aside, is anyone really surprised to find out that he wasn’t a particularly good basketball player?

The day after the online uproar, Rose and Bayless sat down again to discuss the previous day’s events. Rose didn’t think it was appropriate for someone who wasn’t particularly skilled himself to call out or pick on professional athletes. After about 10 minutes, Stephen A. Smith showed up to throw himself in the middle of the debate and grab himself a little bit of the spotlight by yelling and interrupting for 15 minutes.

For those unfamiliar with Smith, he subscribes to the belief that if you can talk louder than your opponent in a debate and cut them off when they’re talking, you win. In this case, Smith must consider himself a winner because Rose appeared to be on the verge of tears, looking like the only sane person in a mental institution.

Smith was defending Bayless and other similarly opinionated journalists, basically saying that it’s his right to call professional athletes out when they deserve it. Although I typically don’t agree with “shock value” personalities like Smith and Bayless, I have to say I’d side with them on this one.

Pro athletes understandably don’t like being called out by talking heads like Bayless, but as public figures, they need to get used to it.

Despite the fact that I dislike Skip Bayless and how he operates, it’s his job to make the majority of America hate him. And I’ll admit it, he’s very good at what he does.

Kevin Thornton is a sophomore in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @kevinthorn10.