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.