Have you ever thought to yourself, I love the sound of feral cats fighting? Do you get bored when you have a conversation and the person you're talking to doesn't recount all the times you were wrong and they were right (without necessarily being factual)?
If you answered, "Yes," to one or both of those questions then I have two fellas for you.
Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith are ESPN's contribution to the cesspool that is the cable news echo chamber and are terrible in their own right. Bayless and Smith are featured screamers on ESPN's First Take and if you tune in, it's ensured that no actual information whatsoever will be transferred to your noggin.
Bayless specializes in contrarian, narcissistic venom, while Smith maintains an intense, high-volume inflection that deflects any questions about the logic behind his arguments.
When these two get together on First Take, or spill their thoughts elsewhere, it's guaranteed that the audience will emerge dumber, and crows everywhere will be agitated and screeching.
What is amazing about their journalistic endeavors is that they lead to the worst kind of headlines—accusations of subtle racism, plain offensiveness or the uncouth—yet no actual news.
The caveat here is that Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith have produced a plethora of dumb and otherwise awful moments, but there are a few that effectively capture their crapulence.
These are the 20 dumbest things Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith have said.
In August 2012, Skip Bayless had this to say about the Yankees' Derek Jeter's resurgence:
"I am shocked by what I'm seeing from Derek Jeter right now. They all said he was washed up. All of a sudden, this man has turned 38 years of age in June and already he has more hits than he had last year. …I'm seeing a whole new guy this year from last year … Are you kidding me? You have to have your head in the sand or your head somewhere else not to at least wonder, 'How is he doing this?' "
He later clarified, trying to minimize the obvious accusations he hurled at Jeter.
"I'm not saying he uses a thing. I have no idea. But within the confines of his sport, it is fair for all of us, in fact you are remiss, if you don't at least think about this."
This kind of thing is typical of Bayless, lobbing nasty accusations in an effort to poison the public discourse with his bile and then backing off entirely. Jalen Rose showed us all what happens when Skip is actually confronted with reality.
Leave it to Stephen A. Smith, who NBC Dallas aptly points out is best known for shouting at people on television, to make the Cowboys look more sympathetic. He had this to say in January 2012:
"This dude [Romo) didn't get it done. So when I sit here and listen to somebody like Brett Favre opening his mouth talking about Tony Romo like he's a victim, what are you talking about? He had DeMarco Murray, he had Dez Bryant, he had Miles Austin even though he got hurt, you always had Jason Witten. … You're playing in a billion-dollar playpen and you're talking about this dude as a victim?"
The fact that all of the players he mentioned, aside from Jason Witten, missed significant time with injury that season are the kind of insignificant details Stephen A. has never been fond of. He continued:
"I'm saying [Favre] has a lot of nerve and a lot of gall saying what he said. The victim in Dallas is Mr. Jerry Jones, an owner that puts his money where his mouth is and has given Tony Romo the weapons to produce, and he hasn't gotten there."
So in one breath he's mockingly referring to the cost of Cowboys Stadium and in the next he's bemoaning poor victimized billionaire Jerry Jones. So Brett Favre has no business expressing his opinion publicly about quarterbacks in the NFL and GM Jerry Jones, who has said himself he's responsible for everything the Cowboys do, is the victim.
In 2006, Skip Bayless broke down the NCAA men's basketball championship for ESPN's Page 2. He proudly declared the supremacy of UCLA, insisting they would defeat Florida by wearing them out.
It wouldn't even be a game because the Gators had "no idea what they were up against." And he also said this:
"UCLA makes George Mason look like George Burns."
You're showing your age with that one, Skip!
Skip was actually right about the game not being close—it wasn't. Florida defeated UCLA 73-57. No word on if he shouted his personal failure from "the ESPN mountaintop" as he trumpeted his initial prediction.
In February 2012, the NY Daily News reported on an interesting couple of segments on Stephen A. Smith's New York radio show on ESPN. Screamed the loud one:
"I report stuff weeks in advance and get vilified for it. But when it comes to fruition, no one remembers they vilified me…I won't tell you anything. I have nothing to prove. If you don't like it, don't watch me [on ESPN]. I don't have to do it [break stories]. I have a radio show, a TV show and a column. I don't need to do that."
Talk radio in any form isn't generally known as a bastion of sanity and respect, but reacting to a caller chiding him about one of the many NBA rumors he has reported that turned out to be wrong, by exploding into a psychotic fit of rage—a little ridiculous, to say the least.
He basically threatened his audience and told them not to listen to his show. Lovely. Surely the network executives all loved that.
Later in the show his sidekick Ryan Ruocco mentioned comedian Jay Pharoah's impression of Stephen A. on Saturday Night Live and here's how he responded:
"As long as it's funny, I'm honored. You know what annoys me is when guys take themselves too seriously."
Hmm. Something tells me irony is lost on Stephen A.
In January 2009, Skip Bayless was already high on Tim Tebow's future in the NFL. On 1st and 10, he boldly asserted a Hall of Fame prediction for the Gator great:
"Tim Tebow is the next Brett Favre!"
For once Stephen A. Smith responded appropriately—with uncontrolled laughter. Skip tried to back off his nonsense slightly by clarifying that he meant "in idolatry," rather than talent…maybe?
At least Tebow has lived up to all those lofty expectations and then some—right, Skip? (Crickets...)
As was widely reported in the sports media, Stephen A. Smith lost his marbles when he mistook a fictional article about him on The Onion as non-fiction in September 2012. The article was entitled "Stephen A. Smith Thinking Son Is Finally Ready For The Sex Argument," and he responded (hilariously) via Twitter:
"I thought I'd heard enough despicable lies about myself. Now there's some article out that I have a 9-yr-old son and I'm going to have a … Conversation with him about Sex. Mind you, I neither have a son nor a 9-Year-old. Some ppl are beyond despicable. No end! Sad what extent … People will go to. Amazing how folks try to tear cats down, primarily due to perceived power of the spoken word. Damn Shame, but too bad. … Because I don't intend on going anywhere. Really, Really sad, though!"
The capitalization impaired response spanned four painful tweets, all of which were later deleted when Stephen A. pretended to be a good sport about the fact that he didn't get the satire. He added, "Peeps got jokes, It's cool!" Peeps got jokes indeed.
Next time Stephen A. should try reading something before getting so bent out of shape about it. If he did more reading and less screaming, perhaps he'd start to grasp the grammatical fundamentals of the written word.
In an interview with the New York Observer in March 2012, Skip Bayless continued his proud tradition of saying things that make people very uncomfortable. When discussing his very regimented day with the writer Thomas Golianopoulos, he added:
"I'm pretty ripped. The pressure of the show drains me. It's why I work out so hard. It's why I'm jacked. I have to be able to stand up to the beating of it."
That must have been a confusing moment for the writer.
On one hand, Skip obviously works out and eats minimally because looks like he tips the scales at about 120 pounds. On the other hand, "ripped" and "jacked" aren't the best words to describe a ghoulish, anorexic-looking old man.
Golianopoulos wisely decided not press the issue because arguing semantics with Skip Bayless is never a winning proposition.
In February 2013, Stephen A. Smith was invited to address the Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church. Because it's what Jesus would have wanted, naturally he boasted about it on Twitter:
For those interested in hearing the Sermon -- yes Sermon -- I gave last Sunday in Decatur, Ga, here's a way to get it: … And Btw...the ONLY reason I called it a sermond is b/c that's what folks in attendance called it. I have a loooonnnggg way to go in my faith … There is no hypocrite in me. Would never pretend to be something I'm not......especially in God's House. Please know this!
Listen, you guys—Stephen A. wasn't calling it a sermon! He's no hypocrite. He's still working on his faith. He would never boast about himself in the house of the Lord!
He was only repeating what he heard from the hundreds of adoring parishioners were screaming from the pews. Can't you tell the difference, stupid?
A native of Oklahoma City, Skip Bayless was very high on the University of Oklahoma in the summer of 2011. In July of that year, he tweeted about the Sooners' prospects for the upcoming college football season with quarterback Landry Jones at the helm:
"The University of Oklahoma will win the NCAA football championship and Landry Jones will win the Heisman. Book it."
OU finished 10-3 overall, 6-3 in the Big 12, and lost to Oklahoma State in December 44-10—not exactly a squeaker. Landry Jones didn't even finish among the Top 10 in Heisman voting, let alone make it to the big show in New York City.
A failed prediction is one thing. Going out on a limb with a definitive declaration is another. Say what you will about Skip, but he's never been shy about doing a cannonball into the stupid end of the pool.
As much of a blowhard as Stephen A. Smith is, he routinely finds himself out of his league squaring off with Skip Bayless on First Take. He's quick to admit that he knows absolutely nothing when it comes to anything outside the NBA.
He tweeted the following about Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the obvious Heisman frontrunner, in early December 2012:
"I'm an honorable man, so I must admit @realskipbayless is right-on with that. He IS the one who told me about Manziel. … I'm an honorable man so I have to admit:@RealSkipBayless is telling the truth. Didn't know a damn thing about Manziel until Skip told me."
There's no question that the Heisman race was a complete tossup through much of the college football year, but he Manziel had definitely solidified himself as the front-runner by December.
The fact that Stephen A., whose idiocy ESPN airs at least 20 hours of per week, had no idea who Johnny Manziel was (until he was educated by Skip Bayless) until the end of the college football season is beyond inexcusable.
Skip Bayless has long been one of Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook's most vocal critics. He doesn't take him to task for ridiculously stupid reasons nearly as often as he does to LeBron James, but often enough to irritate everyone…everywhere.
In April 2012, Skip drew upon his own epic career as a high school basketball player in order to really hit home the point that he wasn't, in fact, just talking completely out of his ass. Quoth the Skipper:
“FYI: I started for high school team that lost in state finals. Coach didn’t like me b/c I shot too much and he wanted me to be more PG."
Turns out he was, in fact, just talking completely out of his ass. A local blog based out of Oklahoma City dug up the dirt on Skip's less than headline-making career in high school hoops.
Turns out Skip was a member of a state championship team as a junior, but he wasn't a starter. In fact, he didn't play a single minute for that team he referenced, but he did start for the JV team!
In June 2012 the @ESPN_FirstTake Twitter account tweeted Skip Bayless' thoughts on NBA Draft strategy, proving his race-baiting trolling goes both ways:
"I'm totally against taking America-born white players in the first round of the draft."
Sweeping generalizations. Uncomfortable racial undertones…and overtones. A vague statement based more on its ability to shock than any actual evidence. Typical Skip.
Then there is the fact that ESPN quickly deleted the incendiary tweet. Just because a tweet is deleted, doesn't mean something never happened—don't they teach you that at the worldwide leader?
Jason Lisk at Big Lead Sports wrote an excellent piece breaking down the actual numbers behind Skip's shallow assessment based on nothing but stereotypes and his own stupidity.
He faced relatively little fallout stemming from this incident, despite the fact that it was said in a much more serious tone than the more recent incident.
The more recent incident in question came in October 2012. Smith was asked if he believed Kobe Bryant would miss the start of the Lakers' season due to an injury. He replied quickly and audibly:
"He'll be just fine. Opening night, Kobe Bryant is going to miss it because [his] foot is sprained? Are y'all crazy? N---a please."
His comments blew up into national news story when the video of his comment began circulating on the web. Naturally, he handled it in a way that only Stephen A. could…or would...
Instead of issuing a simple innocuous apology for saying the thing we all heard him say, he completely denied saying the thing we all heard him say. Or he could have just said, "I said it, I'm not sorry."
Arguing against the one thing everyone knows for sure—that you said it—is just too Stephen A. Smith for words.
Skip Bayless' love for the former Notre Dame linebacker has been positively Tebow-esque, speaking in terms that would apply to no one else on earth.
Although, considering how Bayless almost single-handedly ruined Tebow's career by endlessly running his mouth, Te'o should consider having his people send First Take a cease and desist order.
In November 2012 Bayless made his case for Te'o winning the Heisman in a column he wrote for ESPN. The only thing he wrote worth reading:
"One day, when Manti Te'o, the Next Ray Lewis, has retired after 15 or so NFL seasons as a perennial Pro Bowler, maybe we'll have that eight-team college football playoff."
That's right! Manti Te'o is the next Ray Lewis, y'all! Just like Tim Tebow was the next Brett Favre. Just like Landry Jones was going to win the 2011 Hesiman. Book it!
And this is not meant to be a slight to Te'o—let's everyone but Skip Bayless reserve judgment until he's played…oh…I don't know…maybe one NFL game before anointing him the heir apparent to Lewis.
One of the most irritating things about Stephen A. Smith, besides the screaming, is the excessive hyperbole he employs in lieu of anything substantive. His way with words can only be described as Donald Trump-esque, with the limited depth and vocabulary he possesses.
In August 2012, the unhinged yellers at First Take took on the much debated issue of the Nationals preseason decision to shut down pitching ace Stephen Strasburg, who was coming off of Tommy John surgery, after 160 innings. Said he:
“I still think it’s disgraceful. The fact of the matter is that this is a young stud. Somebody’s got to figure something out. … I just don’t know what’s happened to the sport. I’m not in a position to argue about it. I just don’t understand how these guys are so coddled, and the need to protect these guys. I know he’s less than two years removed from Tommy John surgery. I understand that. I truly do. But I’m thinking about those paying customers."
So doing something they said they were going to do before the season began in an effort to protect the long-term health of Strasburg, not to mention their own investment, is disgraceful? Agree or disagree with the Nats' decision, but labeling it disgraceful is just ignorant.
And if Stephen A. concedes right off the bat that he is in no position to argue the point, why exactly does he continue to do so with such gusto? He truly understands the medical issues but is just worried about the fans? Don't worry Stephen A.—Natties fans don't need an incompetent, baseball-deficient boob championing them.
Skip Bayless, who is not known for his delicate touch when it comes to race relations, offered up his thoughts on the Redskins quarterback situation in August 2012. He had this to say about "foolish Redskins fans" and issues that could arise over Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins:
"I'm going to throw it out there—you also have the black/white dynamic and the majority of Redskins fans are white and it's just human nature if you're white to root for the white guy. It just happens in sports. Just like the black community will root for the black quarterback. … I'm for the black guy. I'm just saying I don't like the dynamic for RGIII. It could stunt his growth in the NFL."
You see it's not racist because Skip is "for the black guy." He's just worried about all those terrible Redskins fans out there who are not enlightened enough to fight their "human nature," which apparently is just being a racist.
Never mind that RG3 was met with universal adoration in DC and that Skip is generally met with universal loathing. He just couldn't resist the urge to stoke the hateful, racially charged fires that he first sparked in the days after the draft.
In October 2012, Stephen A. Smith had this to say about longtime respected Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon, one of his colleagues at ESPN, for expressing support for Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III for the 2012 MVP:
"I think Mike Wilbon is insane. …I love him dearly. We're very good friends. I love him, but he's crazy. … He's a little bit biased. Mike gets a little bit excited there. I mean, Mike's willing to come off the golf course for those two cities [DC and Chicago] … But I’m not letting those Washington homers [Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser], those D.C. homers, get away with this one. No no no no no no.”
A month later Stephen A. tweeted this:
"I simply cannot believe that the Knicks picked the night they're facing Jeremy Lin to stink up the joint. I'm so ashamed of them right now!"
So speaking out in favor of RG3 being named the MVP, an opinion that gained traction far outside the Washington beltway, that's being a homer.
But taking a personal investment (also known as a grudge) in how the Knicks perform against someone Stephen A. feverishly hated before he left New York to sign with the Rockets—that's just good journalism?
In a Men's Journal article in September 2012, Denver sports writer Woody Paige recounted something Skip Bayless, who he said subsists on Red Bull, broccoli and Ambien, said when he first met him.
They were preparing for First Take and according to Paige, Skip looked at him and "apropos of nothing" said:
"'I've had more sex than all of you people combined."
Alrighty then! That sounds more than a little upsetting. It also sounds like someone trying to overcompensate for something.
Nobody on ESPN hides their ignorance about hockey—when it's a topic broached on Around The Horn, the participants generally begin their argument with "Well, I'm not Mr. Hockey…but." God forbid they learn about it.
Stephen A. Smith doesn't hide his ignorance of anything, he prefers to flaunt it, and there's nothing dislikes more and knows less about than the NHL. When "discussing" the Blackhawks' record winning streak in March 2013, he had this to say:
"Excuse me … it wasn’t 21 games. It was really an 8-game streak. There are three ties. I’m sorry, that doesn’t count. … I’m not into the tie business. This isn’t soccer. OK? … And and and and and and the hockey stuff, I’m sorry, I’m not buying it. … Not only that: If you go to the overtime you get a point. If you win the game, you get a couple of points. I’m sorry, you want a cookie? Last time I checked, when you take to the ice, it’s to actually win. It’s not to tie. So I don’t get all of this stuff. Hockey’s clearly all about points, because if you go to overtime 20 times you get 20 points. I don’t understand that. You either win or you lose in sports. … When the Stanley Cup champion is crowned, is it because of a tie? No, it’s because of a win."
You aren't into hockey, Stephen A.? Well you don't say! Could've fooled us.
Suppose it doesn't matter that hockey hasn't had ties since 2004 and that all games are settled via a shootout if the tie isn't broken during five minutes of overtime. And that ties have never existed in the playoffs, but rather sudden-death periods of overtime that function the same as additional full periods of hockey.
So maybe the last time he "checked" was 2004? But that's being generous because it's more than abundantly clear that Stephen A. has never and will never know anything about anything aside from the NBA. He doesn't even try to hide his ignorance on the subject, or any subject, and seems quite content with yelling nonsense.
Remember that full calendar year in which Skip Bayless passionately defended Tim Tebow as if he were contractually obligated to do so and the penalty imposed by ESPN for disobeying that order would be death? Of course you do.
Well, guess what! That wasn't a biased opinion, nor was it based on anything but facts and observations. In fact, it was everyone else's opinions that were wrong. Poor Skip was the only person in America that was being objective, that according to Skip:
"I'VE BEEN EXTREMELY OBJECTIVE ABOUT TIM TEBOW. And that's my problem: I'm one of the very few commentators who have been objective about Tebow."
You'll notice in the screen capture that Skip is in Denver sitting next to a Tebow graphic with the hashtag #SkipsTebowBandwagon underneath and leading the hometown crowd in rebuttal cheers of "All he does is win."
"All He Does Is Win" is also the name of a horrifying song that went viral, based on Skip's objective and repetitive view on Tebow. Now seriously—have you ever in your life heard something so extremely objective?
Oh, you have? What's that? You think the late Kim Jong-il's views on his basketball greatness were more objective than Skip Bayless' creepy, borderline obsessive, thoughts on Tim Tebow? Hmm. You could be right there.
On which of The Three Stooges he'd prefer over Dwight Howard:
"Right now I'd take Larry, Moe or Curly Howard over Dwight."
Har. Har. Har. Anyone else noticing that Skip's humor predates color television?
On the better quarterback talent:
"I've been consistent w/ this for 4 years: I think VYoung a little better QB than MVick, whose very good but now a little overhyped"
So that's something he's still bragging about? Makes you wonder why Skipper didn't bring up this specific issue to Michael Vick's face when he appeared on First Take. Never mind, we know why he didn't.
On the 2013 BCS Championship game:
"Notre Dame 24, Bama 23. Manti plays with a Heisman-sized chip on shoulder pads, Golson makes one more play than A.J."
Spot. On. Skip!
On the power of Mark Cuban's words:
"Nice move by Mark Cuban, costing his team a key home game by setting off Kobe with the smartest-man-in-the-league "amnesty" remark."
Who knew that Mark Cuban's words had the power to move mountains! So he mentions the financial realities the Lakers will be facing in the 2013 offseason and suddenly the Lakers are a dominant force. Point, Cuban.
On the best all-around scorer in the NBA:
"Melo proving again he's a better all-around scorer than LeBron."
The last time Carmelo Anthony topped LeBron James in any scoring category, it was when he finished above him in points per game in 2006-07. 'Melo topped LeBron by 1.6 PPG that year—which was six years ago.
**Share your favorite loathsome Skip and Stephen A. moment with me on Twitter: Follow @blamberr