Oh, Skip Bayless. Of course you said ridiculous things when the New York Observer interviewed you in a Midtown Manhattan bar. Had you not said ridiculous things, wearing your “navy-blue sweatshirt, matching cargo sweatpants and white-and-navy Fila sneakers,” we’d all be a little disappointed.
Among the ridiculous things you said:
You are a non-sleeping sports-shouting robot.
Since the change to two hours of live debate, Mr. Bayless claims he has the hardest job at ESPN. His days really start at 6 p.m., he explained, when he watches SportsCenter. He’ll then devour games until about 1 a.m., all the while scouring the Internet for bits of data that he can employ in the next day’s debates. Upon waking at 5 a.m., he logs onto Twitter. He then runs on a treadmill for an hour before getting into ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut, office at around 7.
You are “pretty ripped.“
After the show, he often lifts weights. “I’m pretty ripped,” he said confidently. “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 to stand up to the beating of it.”
You made it a point to be kind of an asshole on your first date with your current fiancé.
Mr. Bayless is currently engaged to Ernestine Sclafani, a publicist. They met seven years ago at ESPN and on their first date, he informed her that he is married to his job. (His first marriage, to his junior high sweetheart, ended in 1980.)
You also made it a point to tell the black guys at your job about your historically good relations with black people.
“Everything I learned about life, I learned from Katie Bell—rights and wrongs, principles,” he said, adding, “I had a great connection [with African-Americans]. When we played the black teams, they always liked me. They called me Skippy. They would kid with me after the games.” Nonetheless, he hastens to add, “I don’t try to be black. I don’t want to be the white black guy. I don’t do that.”
Mr. Bayless has told his First Take debate partners—the majority of whom are African-American—about Katie Bell and her influence on him, though he admitted, “I don’t know if this offends them or if they take it the wrong way.”
We also learned that the people you work with legitimately like you. This is something we had heard before through the grapevine, but didn’t believe. Now, however, one of your colleagues has admitted it — and we were surprised to learn that there are actually things about you that are still surprising.