There is only one of two reasons why you are currently reading this article, at least that’s what I believe, and they are this, 1) you hate Skip Bayless, 2) you love Skip Bayless. Now since I think I’m the only one in the world who actually does like Skip Bayless I think that most people reading this are going to side with option No. 1. Now after reading that I like Bayless you may think that this is going to be a one-sided argument, me simply defending Bayless on every point, well you would be wrong.
I will be one of the first people to say that Bayless does come up with some thing that are just completely out of left-field, like his recent insinuation that Derek Jeter, the heralded New York Yankees shortstop, may be on PED’s. As usual with Bayless’ opinions, this caused a huge uproar in the sports world and has been a topic that people just cannot stop talking about. Heck today I saw a Facebook thread where a Yankees fan went nuts on Bayless, citing that you should not disrespect Jeter like that.
I am in no way here to defend Bayless’ brash opinions or stances on varying sports subjects. But what I am going to do is something that I don’t believe anyone has done, and that is point out to many people that Skip Bayless is not an idiot. If you were to go to Google and type in the words, Skip Bayless Is Not An Idiot, you would garner pages and pages of content stating just the opposite, that Bayless is an idiot. Now I know many people will fire back at me with things like, well if no one has ever defended Skip as being smart then it must be true, but by simply doing a little research into Bayless’ past you will realize that he is definitely not an idiot.
Let’s start by taking a look at Bayless as he was heading out of high school. Bayless attended Northwest ClassenHigh School and, upon his graduation, received the superbly prestigious Grantland Rice Scholarship which propelled him to attend Vanderbilt University. In case you were wondering Vanderbilt is the 17th ranked school on U.S News College Rankings, right behind Brown and Cornell. Basically you can’t be an “idiot” and get into Vanderbilt.
Bayless majored in History and English while attending Vanderbilt and was a part of the inaugural class of the Vanderbilt Student Media Hall of Fame. From Vanderbilt Bayless headed to the Miami Herald where he covered various sports topics for two years. After this short period at the Herald Bayless decided it was best to head out to Los Angeles and took a job with the Los Angeles Times. It was in L.A where Bayless began to garner the controversial label, as most of his articles had to do with the Dodgers clubhouse resentment towards Steve Garvey, and Los Angeles Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom’s decision to start a new quarterback each week.
Bayless also began to cover some horse racing and followed the career of Seattle Slew, a feat that earned him a prestigious Eclipse Award. At the age of 25 Bayless shifted his workforce to Dallas to be a part of the Dallas Morning News, taking over their lead sports column, where he once again started up with his controversial pieces, except this time they were on the polarizing Dallas Cowboys. Bayless covered the rise and fall of the Cowboys beloved Tom Landry, broke the story that Jimmie Johnson and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones were not “best friends”, and correctly predicted that no matter how good the Cowboys did, nothing could save Johnson’s job.
After 17 years in Dallas, which brought Bayless another three sportswriter of the year awards, Bayless decided to head out to Chicago to write for the Chicago Tribune. In Bayless’ first year with the Tribune he won the LisagorAward for excellence in sports column writing and was voted Illinois sportswriter of the year. While in the midst of his prime Bayless had a widely talked about feud with the Tribune’s executive editor, Ann Marie Lipinski, about her new policy to limit all Tribune articles to just 650 words. Bayless decided he did not want to put up with that headache and decided to leave the Tribune, he was not out of work for long though as Knight RidderCorporation immediately hired Bayless to cover sports for its paper, the San Jose Mercury News.
While covering sports in San Jose Bayless became a regular on Jim Rome’s Rome Is Burning, and had a weekly debate session on the Sunday edition of SportsCenter with Stephen A. Smith titled, ”Old School/Nu Skool.” In 2004 ESPN decided to hire Bayless full time to appear alongside Woody Paige on ESPN2′s Cold Pizza, the original First Take, and to write columns for ESPN.com. In 2007 Bayless decided to stop writing and concentrate on First Take.
So, after a brief history covering Bayless’ journey from high school, through college, and ending in his hiring at ESPN, you may be wondering how does this all relate to Bayless not being an idiot. Well I can tell you this, winning four sportswriter of the year awards, being accepted into Vanderbilt University, (on a scholarship nonetheless), winning an Eclipse Award, (which is huge in horse racing if you were wondering, or did not know), and winning the Lisagor Award does not happen by accident, or by being an “idiot”. Bayless had to have done something right.
Many people may take this article the wrong way, thinking that I am agreeing with Bayless and everything he says, but that is just not the case. The point that I am trying to get across to people is this, Bayless may have some extremely radical opinions, he may be putting on an act and saying stuff for shock value, but by no means is he an idiot. Journalists who constantly put out garbage stating that Bayless is an idiot, moron, or does not know what he is talking about, are only making themselves look foolish because, truth be told, Skip Bayless is a better journalist than any of these people will ever be.
DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @NBAINSIDERINFO