Shannon Sharpe, the iconic NFL Hall of Famer turned media figure, recently opened up about his mounting tensions with his former co-host, Skip Bayless. During a heartfelt chat on “The Stephen A. Smith Show,” Sharpe shared moments where he felt the strong urge to physically confront Bayless, especially after a series of charged remarks.
This insight sheds light on the challenges media personalities face. While spirited debates boost ratings, the emotional price for those involved can be high. Sharpe’s recent comments affirm speculations that his departure from “Undisputed” was due to personal issues with Bayless rather than just professional moves.
“It hurts more when someone that you know, someone that you trust, someone that you think is a friend, would betray you or say something to that effect,” Sharpe shared on ‘The Stephen A. Smith Show.’ “When people from the outside say things, if I don’t know you, I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me.
“…for him to take that shot, to say I was jealous of Brady? Jealous of what?… Tom Brady didn’t play well in the 49ers game. I think the score was 28-0 at the half, or maybe 35-0. Everybody knew… But to try and say, ‘Oh, you were nothing, and you’re jealous of Tom Brady?’ Why would I be jealous of Tom Brady? I’m happy [for] Tom. Tom was like me; given an opportunity, he made the most of that opportunity.
In all of my TV career, that was probably the low—. I remember going home, calling my sister; I called my brother. My homeboy… everybody had messsaged him, and he raced home to watch it. It took a lot for me not to put my hands on him. It actually did.”
The origins of this tension stem from various disagreements, the most poignant being Bayless’s tweet about Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest. This tweet stirred up significant controversy and was a breaking point for Sharpe. The co-hosts clashed, and soon after, Sharpe left “Undisputed.”
Yet, Sharpe’s relationship with Bayless had more underlying intricacies. Sharpe, with a decorated football career, three Super Bowl wins, and an NFL Hall of Fame title, brings a unique perspective to sports discussions.
In contrast, Bayless, despite his analytical prowess, has never played professionally. This dynamic brought a unique challenge to their debates. Sharpe’s firsthand experiences often clashed with Bayless’s observations, potentially leading to Sharpe feeling that his on-field achievements and insights were undervalued.
Beyond the emotional revelations, Sharpe’s transition to “First Take” seems to be a strategic win. Early indicators show that partnering with Stephen A. Smith on Mondays and Tuesdays has significantly increased the show’s ratings. “First Take” now pulls in an average of 671,500 viewers. On the other hand, FS1’s “Undisputed” trails significantly, drawing only 151,500 viewers during the same period.
Shannon Sharpe’s move to “First Take” appears to be emotionally and professionally beneficial. As Sharpe and Bayless navigate their paths in sports media, the ratings make it clear that Sharpe’s new partnership has given him a strong footing. The future will reveal how both personalities evolve and if they ever publicly reconcile their differences.