A widely-read sportswriter (Jason Whitlock) blasted another widely-read sportswriter (Gregg Doyel) and a widely-watched sports pundit (Skip Bayless) in a column about LeBron James (who is a basketball player or something). The end result is a few hurt feelings, lines from “Hit ‘Em Up” being tweeted, and us forgetting what we were talking about in the first place.
Sunday night, in the aftermath of the Heat seizing control of the NBA Finals, a Skip Bayless imitator began the negative spin on James inching closer to a title. With ESPN cameras hovering and the TV drug dangling, the Bayless clone asked James if he was “shrinking” under fourth-quarter Finals pressure.
The “Bayless clone” whom Whitlock won’t refer to by name is Doyel, CBS Sports’ national writer, who has been piled on relentlessly for asking LeBron James a very dumb question during a press conference the other night.
Let’s revisit that moment. As you can see, like an eager junkie who’s about to score on a Baltimore street corner, saliva gathers at the sides of Doyel’s mouth as the TV drug dangles in front of him. “Five Good Minutes, here we come,” right?
Around the 35 second mark is where Doyel was “kicked in the teeth,” as he so aptly described it.
The response was swift: Doyel got it from all angles after his “shrinking” question (which was a bit unfair to begin with) and wasn’t helped by LeBron’s methodical, and stunningly fact-based, shutdown. Doyel, for his part, has been a good sport about it all, congratulating those that did a good job of ripping him, and even saying he enjoyed Whitlock’s column. But the comparison to Bayless (“ESPN’s Glenn Beck,”) irked him.
And it should have. Ol’ Skip (or rather, the character he plays on TV) is universally disliked by most smart people, and being compared to him is a serious charge. Comparing someone to Skip Bayless, in fact, is pretty much the worst thing you can say about someone who cares about what they do. Which Doyel clearly does.
And if you’ve forgotten that this was originally about a piece on LeBron James, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
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