Skip Bayless can’t help himself.
The notoriously opinionated Fox Sports talking head watched from afar as superstar basketball recruit Romeo Langford opted to stay near home and attend Indiana. He took in the decision, considered the other options — Kansas and Vanderbilt — and then offered up his own opinion on the decision.
That’s a pretty toned down Tweet for Bayless, and it’s almost certainly motivated by Bayless’ own affiliation with Vanderbilt (it’s his alma mater). Guess what? It’s still in poor taste. How can anyone rationally criticize an 18-year-old making the decision he thinks is best for his own life? Particularly when that decision is clearly motivated by the deep-rooted sense of loyalty the teenager has for his home state and community.
Perhaps that’s where the disconnect lies. See, Bayless has never had that level of loyalty. Sure, he spent a long time in Dallas — 17 years — but that was split between the flagship Dallas Morning News (three years) and upstart Dallas Times Herald. He abandoned Dallas for Chicago to become the sports columnist at the Chicago Tribune. He only lasted in Chicago for four years. That’s despite work that would have allowed him to continue his written footprint in Chicago if he chose to.
He chose not to.
None of these decisions — nor his departure from ESPN, which nurtured him from 2004-2016, for Fox — are necessarily wrong. In fact, they’ve been the right ones career-wise for Bayless, whose star has risen to the top of sports media on the back of acerbic wit, repetition and more repetition.
Yet clearly, Bayless’ own decisions have never been driven by a core sense of loyalty. Perhaps that explains why he wouldn’t understand a teenager making a major life decision guided by that principle.