It appears that the hosts of ESPN’s First Take are competing to see who can offer up the most thoughtless, insensitive and incendiary remarks. The sports talk program has barely recovered from the backlash surrounding Stephen A. Smith’s outlandish domestic violence comments and now fellow analyst Skip Bayless has taken things a step further. On Tuesday’s show, Bayless said he believed the 2003 sexual assault charge Kobe Bryant faced in Colorado after an incident with a 19-year-old hotel employee helped the NBA star “sizzle.”
His exact words were:
“Remember Kobe pre-Eagle, Colorado? He failed in his first sneaker deal because he was just too clean cut and I think it was Adidas that had him first, correct me if I’m wrong, but he couldn’t sell sneakers because he didn’t have enough edge. But then post-Eagle, Colorado it brought a little attention to him, like it gave him a little bit of sizzle.”
So basically, Bayless believes Bryant’s marketability benefited from him being charged with rape. Bayless’ comments appeared to shock his co-hosts Smith and Cari Champion into silence as Champion quickly ended the segment by saying “All right, we are going to leave it right there.”
Clearly, Bayless’ remarks were out of line. To suggest that a rape accusation can be viewed as advantageous is making light of a serious issue, which is completely disrespectful and irresponsible.