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Stephen A. Smith: ‘I’m One of the Few’ Skip Bayless Has Ever Trusted

“I can disagree with him, I can tell you I disagree with him, I can argue and butt heads back and forth with him, but what I would never do is betray his trust because I know him in ways other people don’t.”

Ricky Keeler

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Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were debating each other daily on television whether on First Take or Cold Pizza for many years. While Bayless and Smith often disagreed on many topics, they would never try to attack one another personally.

Smith was a guest on The Ringer NBA Show (Real Ones) on Thursday with Logan Murdock and Raja Bell and he said that Bayless holds him in such regard that he owes it to him to not try and attack his character.

“Skip Bayless is one of those dudes that is an introvert. He’s a loner. He does things his way in ways nobody else does them. I’m one of the few people on the planet he’s ever trusted. We don’t agree on much. I didn’t agree with his tweet when Damar Hamlin went down. I didn’t agree with him years ago with what he said about Troy Aikman. I’ve never agreed with the incessant criticism of LeBron James. He does not care.

“What he cares about is that I’m going to disagree with his perspective, but not try to character assassinate him. I’m not even saying that other people — he hasn’t brought it down upon himself for other people to act that way. If you are Russell Westbrook, you should have a problem with him calling you Westbrick. If you are Chris Bosh, you should have a problem with him calling you Bosh Spice.

“Just respect the fact I can’t do that. I wouldn’t be on First Take if it wasn’t for Skip Bayless. I owe him that. I can disagree with him, I can tell you I disagree with him, I can argue and butt heads back and forth with him, but what I would never do is betray his trust because I know him in ways other people don’t.”

Smith was also asked by Murdock why it’s so tough for some journalists to call out athletes and still acknowledge they are human beings. He mentioned that even if he doesn’t hear from certain athletes, that doesn’t change how he thinks about them.

“Jealousy, envy, and this belief that they have a right to define what you should be as opposed to embracing who you are. Then, hypocrisy last but not least because if you communicated with them more, they would feel better about it because you don’t communicate with them as much as they would like, that’s a license to castigate you or to label you in some kind of way.

“There’s a few cats that haven’t spoken to me. I don’t give a damn. It doesn’t impact how I’m going to cover them. I’m going to call it like I see it. If I know you, that’s different. It’s going to heighten my level of sensitivity, but not communicating with you is not going to make me go after you, I’m going to look at what you do and I’m going to judge it accordingly. I’m going to do everything I can not to judge you.”

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Sports TV News

Peter King: Sean McVay Wants to be a Star, ‘Not Just Some Guy on TV’

“I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

Jordan Bondurant

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L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay will remain at his post for the 2023-24 season. The team tweeted that news Friday afternoon, seeming to, at least for now, put the rumors of McVay leaving coaching for a TV job to rest.

ProFootballTalk’s Peter King wrote in Football Morning in America on Monday that McVay understands the kind of position on television he’s looking for may not necessarily be there for him.

“I don’t think that was the only thing about TV that appealed to him, but I don’t think McVay was interested in being Just a Guy on TV,” King wrote. “I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

King noted that McVay has been told to “Do what makes you happy” by folks with the Rams. He also said he believes coaching is what Makes McVay happy. Especially with a chance to shake up his coaching staff and being involved in trying to bring the team back from a 5-12 season in their follow-up campaign to winning the Super Bowl.

“He wants to be challenged, and this staff wasn’t doing it,” King said. “Offensive coordinator Liam Coen may not have been what McVay wanted in an OC—a coach who would challenge him and bring new ideas to him—and that could be why he’s going back to the University of Kentucky as a coordinator.”

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Sports TV News

Lisa Salters Makes Monday Night Football History Completing 11th Season on Sideline

“Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Monday night’s Cowboys/Bucs wild card playoff game set a new milestone for ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

The network tweeted that Salters completed her 11th season in that role. That makes her the longest tenured reporter in Monday Night Football history.

Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.

“When I first got the call to do Monday Night Football, I would have never thought that 10 years later I would still be doing it,” Salters said last year in a video reminiscing on ten years on Monday Night Football. “I was at home and I got a phone call from my boss Vince Doria and he said, ‘Hey, I was wondering if you would be interested in being a sideline reporter for Monday Night Football‘, and I couldn’t believe what he just asked me.”

Salters is also featured on network coverage of the NBA, something she’s been doing since 2005.

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Sports TV News

No Conspiracy Behind ESPN Monday Night Playoff Game Selection

“The decision to continue with 4/5 games in the Monday night window came down to convenience.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN has only carried NFL playoff games on Monday night for two seasons but has been a part of wild card weekends dating back to the 2014-15 campaign.

With the exception of one season, a 4-seed versus 5-seed matchup has always been covered by the Monday Night Football broadcast team in that stretch of nine seasons. That continued with Cowboys/Bucs this year.

In 2021-22, with the NFL expanding the playoff field to seven teams, the first Monday night playoff game was played. The Rams cruised past the Cardinals 34-11.

Last week, the decision was the source of much speculation. TV executives shared a number of theories about why ESPN landed the game that had the most star power in the Super Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post wrote that no speculation was necessary. The decision to continue with 4/5 games in the Monday night window came down to convenience. The new format, the games that have a likelihood of altering seeding for the divisional rounds have already been played.

The 4/5 games this weekend proved to be pretty entertaining. The Jaguars rallied from down 27 to beat the Chargers. Al Michaels and Tony Dungy were ripped on social media for how they called a particularly exhilarating game for NBC. So it turns out Joe Buck and Troy Aikman would’ve called either one of the weekend’s best games.

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