It was strange – Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were talking the Super Bowl, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, who’s got more on the line, and all those arguments they use to fill the time over on First Take. And they were downright jovial. They weren’t even pretending to have tension between them. Stephen A. ripped on Bayless for waving papers around, Bayless fired back, and everyone was having a good ol’ time. Including viewers…though that might have been thanks mostly to what Stephen A. looks like he’s doing at the 11-second mark below:
For the record, Stephen A. himself had this to say:
Will ya’ll stop. I don’t care what it looked like. I would never flip ANYONE the Bird — including @RealSkipBayless. Was just talking w/ my hands like that. Folks start nonsense for a reason.
Would the reason be “because it was funny”? Because this was. Before we even saw the clip, we saw this. And we didn’t think much of it – we figured it flashed on the screen briefly, and someone caught it at the right moment. But then, reader Chuck emailed us about it, at which point we watched it. And yeah…we’re sure Stephen A. didn’t mean to flash the middle finger. But he did. Apparently it was a total accident rather than a Ron Jaworski “whoops, forgot I was on TV” moment. The cruel irony of it for Stephen A. – the one time these two aren’t faking outrage over something is the time a taboo expression of outrage – even though it wasn’t intended – makes it on the screen.