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Luther Campbell, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke crowns ESPN talking head Skip Bayless the king of race-baiting.
I have to hand it to Skip Bayless. The 60-year-old ESPN commentator is the Rush Limbaugh of sports journalism. He has built a cottage industry playing the role of the angry white guy on the show First Take, in which he debates other sports journalists and ex-athletes, usually African-Americans, on racially charged topics. For instance, in January 2011, Bayless caused a ruckus when he applauded the fact that L.A. Clippers star Blake Griffin is half Anglo. "Yeah, I'll be the first to admit on national TV that I take a little pride because he came from a white mother," he said.
Bayless is a native Oklahoman with a degree in English and history from Vanderbilt University. A lot of folks don't know he started his career with the Miami Herald. He went on to write for the Los Angeles Times, the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Chicago Tribune, and the San Jose Mercury News.
Bayless honed his skills as a cub reporter relentlessly attacking African-American players. At age 25, he wrote a column blasting Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboy running back Tony Dorsett as an "All-Pro con man" and opened with the line, "before we tar and feather Tony Dorsett..." Obviously, Dorsett was more than upset; he noted that tarring and feathering is often associated with the lynching of black men in the Deep South.
But that didn't stop Bayless. In fact, he has become one of the highest-paid sports columnists in the nation, as well as a recurring face on ESPN, where he dispenses his special brand of race baiting.
Most African-American journalists and sports celebrities don't like him. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs called Bayless a douchebag to his face during an interview shortly after the team lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC title game in January. Black columnist Stephen A. Smith recently flipped him the middle finger on-air. And Charles Barkley annointed Bayless the "biggest jackass in the history of journalism." But Bayless is just saying what his audience wants to hear. If he weren't pulling in viewers, there is no way ESPN would keep him under contract.
As sad as his commentary may be, Bayless represents the worldview of people just like him: middle-aged, middle-class white dudes who despise successful millionaire African-American athletes.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.
As much as I hate Skip Bayless and agree with some of your points on him, you, sir, are a hypocrite. Is it wrong for a white man to be proud that a prominent athlete is part white in today's society? No (but yes according to you). If Asians can be proud of Lin, and African American's of fellow members of their race, white men can also be proud. I'm so sick of the race card and reverse racism in sports today. Who cares!? It is journalists like you and Skip Bayless that continue this type of commentary and drag everyone into it.
There is nothing racist about saying "tar and feather". It's a common expression and anyone can twist something like that into a context that is offensive. If anything, I would claim that tarring and feathering is associated with English forms of punishment, therefore, white men.
Be proud of who you are and where you came from, stand up for yourself, but let's keep the race out of sports journalism.
I don't like the guy as much as the next guy but to just point to race is stupid. why is it that when the African American community doesn't like someone they goto great lengths to show that he's a racist? 2 comments made over a 40 year career doesn't make him racist. he has plenty of black friends and makes his money off of a sport dominated by mostly African Americans. He is purely an entertainer and that's what he does, entertain. provide a catalyst to a show that would just be sports enter with a little more commentary.
Skip Bayless is the perfect example of what is wrong with sports media. Since when does being an opinionated writer with no playing or coaching background make you an authority on sports? race in sports? and ripping apart the performances of grown men on the field? A college degree does not equal real world or team sports knowledge or experience. He had made his living off of being a negative presence on the air waves. He knows nothing of the process of what it takes to become a professional athlete or what it takes to maintain that. He knows nothing of the pressures or preparation of coaching. Hopefully the day will come when I can debate him with the cameras on, until then, I will listen to only those that look at things from both sides and have some knowledge of what they see not just a negative opinion.
He and Stephen A are friends and SKip is a good dude. Its funny how those weak worthless examples you managed to dig up after 30-40 years are so benign and basically serve to disprove your theory that he is this king of race-baiting.As if it is a crime for black of white people to feel some pride for Blake Griffen..Dude, you are stretching for straws and straining at knats and whats more is its fairly obvious you are doing it to try to get some free pub.Sad you are what you wrongly accuse others of being.
the king if race baiting luke is al sharpton, jessie jackson, farrakahn, obama. and when a great American like Herman Cain comes along, you statest media destroys him. when you media people vett obama? Stick to music Luke
historically tarring and feathering was used on white tax collectors from britain, did you skip 5th grade history?
I dont read anything by the trashy author of this article. I knew from the title who it was. The biggest racist in the "media".
What about people who despise succesful millionaires of all races? What's so wrong about being white and having millions?
They also did that to snake oil salesman back in the day. Really it was anyone that needed to be identified as a person that wasn't on the up & up with whoever they dealt with. Race had something to do with it when it was done by the KKK to African Americans.