Those hoping that his recent controversial statements about Dak Prescott and mental health would dislodge Skip Bayless from his daily television show are set to be disappointed. According to Front Office Sports‘ Michael McCarthy, Bayless and FS1 are set to re-up.
Bayless left ESPN’s First Take in 2016, joining FOX Sports 1 to launch a competing debate show Undisputed with Shannon Sharpe. Bayless’ current deal, which is set to expire this month, pays him upwards of $6 million per year. He could be looking at more than that with his new deal, McCarthy says.
The timing of this new contract is very interesting, as Bayless had one of his most controversial moments as a broadcaster this month. While he regularly gets under the skin of fans of LeBron James and others who he’s taken aim at over the years, his comments about Prescott’s admitted struggles set off a firestorm across the sports world.
“I don’t have sympathy with him going public that ‘I got depressed. I suffered depression early in COVID to the point that I couldn’t even go work out,’” Bayless said about Prescott, who lost his brother to suicide this offseason, on Undisputed earlier this month. “Look, he’s the quarterback of America’s Team. You know and I know, this sport that you play, it is dog eat dog. It is no compassion. No quarter given on the football field. If you reveal publicly any little weakness, it can affect your team’s ability to believe in you in the toughest spots and it definitely could encourage others on the other side to come after you.”
BREAKING: @RealSkipBayless sparked outrage with his cold-hearted comments about Cowboys QB Dak Prescott’s depression. Still, the host of FS1’S @undisputed is nearing a new deal with @FoxSports that will pay him more than $6 million a year. https://t.co/dUA8ir0BQp
— Michael McCarthy (@MMcCarthyREV) September 22, 2020
FOX Sports issued a statement making it clear that it doesn’t agree with Bayless’ take, amid the backlash. He did not face any public repercussion beyond that, and issued a weak non-apology afterwards.
Even after that incident, FS1 is moving forward on an extension and raise for the TV personality. The Prescott situation has caused a “bump” in negotiations, McCarthy says, and nothing is final, but the two sides are expected to come to an agreement.
Bayless’ new deal is not finalized yet, but he’s expected to get a slight raise on his $6 million annual salary in a new contract extension.
Networks typically lock up their top on-air talents months — or even years — before their deals expire, to make sure they don’t hit the free agent market.
However, the recent controversy involving Bayless’ comments about Prescott put a major bump in negotiations, said sources.
For better or worse, it doesn’t sound like the sports world is ridding itself of Skip Bayless for the foreseeable future.
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