ESPN’s Ryen Russillo Explains Why Many Are Happy Skip Bayless Is Gone
Skip Bayless’ 12-year run at ESPN ended on Tuesday as he takes his talents to Fox Sports, where many other former ESPN employees have gone before him. It is no secret that Skip is not particularly liked amongst sports fans, especially when he rants about LeBron James being a horrible player and Tim Tebow being the second coming of whatever he thought he would be.
Fans throwing shots at Skip Bayless on social media for his horrible takes and predictions is normal and expected, but what isn’t expected is how current ESPN employees and other sports personalties dislike like him the same way sports fans do.
Scott Van Pelt, Danny Kanell, Keith Law, and Rich Eisen all took shots at the departing Skip Bayless. Now ESPN’s Ryen Russillo wants his turn to take shots and explain why Bayless is so disliked.
Per Pro Football Talk:
Russillo: “Here’s my thing, If I had a position where I kept saying Tom Brady was the worst all the time and there’s really a lot of evidence that tells you he’s not the worst – or if I say Brady’s Super Bowl, you know, he could have done it without David Patten, that kind of stuff. If [Dan] LeBatard went out and said “I can’t believe Russillo said this, or Mike & Mike can’t believe Russillo said this, I would be OK with this, but I may disagree with them, but I would be OK with it. The problem is when you disagree with Skip, you’re not allowed to. Then he gets mad at you about it. So like, nobody wants to deal with it. And that’s why when the LeBron stuff comes up, if you’re going to be so clearly doctoring the results to keep pushing that you don’t like LeBron or you don’t think he’s any good, then go ahead and keep doing it because it’s clearly great for business, but you can’t get mad at other opinion people for being like ‘Well, that’s just insane and I don’t even know if you believe it.’ That’s always been my point with any of that stuff.”
Kanell: “Isn’t there a time, where you have to go ‘I was wrong’. Isn’t there a time? It’s probably not after the NBA Finals when LeBron was just so dominant.
Russillo: But that’s not good for business. It’s not good for business. You’re right, Danny, but it’s not good for business. And do you know what? Business is good, so I respect that part of it, but we’re all big boys, we all say stuff, and all of us, since we’re opinion guys, disagree with each other all the time. But when you disagree with Skip, it’s handled a different way and a lot of us are just like, whatever. So that’s why we never bring it up.
Kanell: Well, we don’t have to worry about it anymore.
Following the interview with Russillo, an ESPN spokesperson sent a statement from Ryen Russillo to Pro Football Talk regarding what he said on-air:
“What I referenced yesterday was something personal between me and Skip,” Russillo said. “It had nothing to do with ESPN policy.” It’s a fair point, but there’s a huge difference between “policy” and “practice.” If in practice, criticism of Skip Bayless triggered internal complaints from Bayless that were supported directly or indirectly by management, “ESPN policy” is irrelevant.