Former NFL Player Troy Aikman Rips Current Employer Fox Sports For Hiring Skip Bayless
On Tuesday morning, Skip Bayless started a new chapter in his professional life. After helping ESPN turn the morning show First Take into must-see TV over the last few years, he jumped ship and joined Fox Sports earlier this summer. And nearly three months after doing it, he appeared on his new FS1 show, Undisputed, which features Skip debating against former NFL player Shannon Sharpe and looks and feels a lot like First Take. The show will air every weekday and will no doubt see Skip doing what Skip does best, which is voice his often unpopular sports opinions and get fans riled up over them.
There’s at least one Fox Sports employee who is not going to be watching Skip and Shannon on a regular basis, though. Former NFL player Troy Aikman, who has been with Fox Sports for more than a decade now, spoke with Sports Illustrated last week about the network’s decision to bring Skip on board. And he said in no uncertain terms that he’s upset with Fox for giving Skip a platform.
“To say I’m disappointed in the hiring of Skip Bayless would be an enormous understatement,” Aikman told SI. “Clearly, [Fox Sports president of national networks] Jamie Horowitz and I have a difference of opinion when it comes to building a successful organization. I believe success is achieved by acquiring and developing talent, respected and credible individuals, none of which applies to Skip Bayless.”
On the surface, it’s surprising to hear Aikman, who is one of Fox Sports’s top NFL analysts, get so vocal about Skip’s hiring. But as SI pointed out, Aikman is likely still upset with Skip for writing a book called Hell Bent back in the early 1990s that focused on the Dallas Cowboys’ dynasty and insinuated that Aikman was gay. Aikman denied the accusations Skip made about him in the book, and he has gone on the record in the past and said that he’s not a fan of Skip. And that apparently hasn’t changed simply because Aikman and Skip now work for the same network.
This could obviously cause a rift in the Fox Sports ranks and, if Fox isn’t careful, it could ultimately derail Undisputed completely. Fox is already going to fight a bit of an uphill battle with Undisputed, seeing as how it’s more or less a clone of First Take. Having one of the show’s most vocal critics on the payroll is only going to make things more difficult.
Do you think Undisputed will succeed in spite of Aikman’s criticisms of Skip, or will the show tank in the coming months? It’ll be interesting to see how things play out both on camera and behind the scenes.