Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless spent more than four years together turning ‘First Take’ into ESPN’s most notorious program.
Although there is a fair case to be made that the pair never truly dethroned Pardon The Interruption’s position as the Worldwide Leader’s marquee debate show, they came very close.
With ‘First Take’ reaching record audiences, Bayless decided to cash in. He moved to Fox Sports where he began to host ‘Undisputed’ alongside Shannon Sharpe.
For a while their relationship seemed fine – until it wasn’t.
Now, with Sharpe on his way out, Smith decided to offer his honest assessment of his old friend and debate partner.
“I sincerely hope, regardless of what opinion that I’m about to give, that y’all don’t make the mistake of assuming that I’m going to speak against my man, Skip Bayless,” Smith said.
“That’s not going to happen. Remember when I told you that I was the star of the No. 1 sports morning show for the last 11 and a half years? The first four years of that were with Skip Bayless. I’m never in that position if it were not for Skip Bayless.”
Smith didn’t stop there, though.
“Skip Bayless asked me to come on ‘First Take,’” he continued.
“Skip Bayless permitted me to come on ‘First Take.’ Skip Bayless fought for me to come on ‘First Take.’ Skip Bayless played a role in restoring my career that I felt had been wrongly taken from me. I will never disrespect him. It will not happen.”
Another reason to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars next season. https://t.co/DSyE5Jz54T
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 5, 2023
Smith has always had Bayless’ back. Even when it comes to his tiff with Sharpe.
In that respect, his most recent comments are unsurprising.
Is appearance on ‘First Take’ alongside Smith in Sharpe’s immediate future? Time will tell.