Last month, the incomparable Will Leitch wrote probably the most poignant piece to date on how American sports fans and TV audience can best combat ESPN’s resident troll, Skip Bayless. Essentially, the point was “Just don’t watch, don’t feed the troll” and he was right to an extent. The problem is that the average sports fan – the kind that takes sports way too seriously and can’t handle someone criticizing his team – is the little fish taking the bait every time. That’s why First Take has solid ratings, and that’s why ESPN has shamefully embraced the debate format over actual news.
The other problem is that even the big fish can’t ignore Bayless’ shiny lure, as we’ve already seen Chad Johnson “debate” Bayless and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban “own” him. It’s just too bad that even when Bayless is being “owned”, he wins because people tuned in. Ultimately, we can only stop Bayless by completely ignoring him, and that’s not going to happen anytime soon, thanks to Kevin Durant being his latest mark.
Yesterday, for no good reason other than he’s a dick, Bayless started Tweeting about Durant’s friendship with LeBron James and how that’s only making the Chosen One stronger. But it was cool, because Bayless was lacing his Tweets with the back-handed compliment of “My fave player”. That didn’t stop Durant from opening the floodgates with this Tweet.
And then Bayless responded and responded and responded.
Sigh. Bayless has already proven that he can start his own racial controversy and insult an entire NFL team’s fan base with it and ESPN will just shrug and schedule more hip hop stars to come on and argue with him about the NBA. In fact, short of making Bayless say his own name backwards and sending him back to his own galaxy, I’m pretty sure he’s immortal. Love live Bayless.