Over the years, Skip Bayless has garnered a rough reputation through his various opinions on sports matters. Much of the ire toward him has stemmed from his perspective and connection to the Dallas Cowboys. Bayless’ journey through the sports media realm saw become the center of a controversial matter concerning former Cowboys great Troy Aikman.
Skip Bayless’ reputation
Before Skip Bayless became one of the most recognizable sports tv personalities, he established himself through the sports print media industry.
Bayless spent over a decade in the field working with The Miami Herald and LA Times. He arrived at the Dallas Morning News writing leads in the 1980s then joined the Dallas Times Herald. He gained recognition during that span and burst onto the scene regarding the Cowboys with a book about Tom Landry in 1989 entitled God’s Coach: The Hymns, Hype and Hypocrisy of Tom Landry’s Cowboys.
He remained attached in the frame before earning a spot on ESPN’s “1st and 10” (now First Take). He currently works with Fox on a weekly morning debate show entitled “Undisputed” alongside Shannon Sharpe.
Through it all, Bayless has garnered plenty of criticism for his opinions on various sports topics, including the Cowboys. The pathway also includes a rough public situation with Troy Aikman.
Troy Aikman’s beef with Skip Bayless
Skip Bayless isn’t new to creating controversy as that came about during his coverage of the Dallas Cowboys.
He caught Troy Aikman’s ire in 1996 after publishing Hell-Bent: The Crazy Truth About the Win or Else Dallas Cowboys. The trouble came due to the inclusion of questionable content concerning the three-time Super Bowl champion’s life off the field.
Bayless used six pages of his 290-page book to discuss the possible “rumor” that came from the camp around then-Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer. After catching wind of that dialogue, Bayless spoke to Aikman’s agent Leigh Steinberg, a team source, and the star quarterback’s sportscaster friend Dale Hansen. They all voiced that no evidence suggested he was gay. (H/T The Ringer)
Bayless then debated in the book whether the rumor was newsworthy, even if it was true. He wrote, “If a stud quarterback speaks openly of how much he loves spending time with his ‘buddies’….is he automatically branded ‘gay’ in our macho homophobic society?”
Although Bayless didn’t flatly state any truth to the matter, Aikman remained angered about the situation for years. In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitch in early 2019, he vented his frustration with the entire matter.
“I’m upset about it because it was made up and there was nothing accurate about anything that was insinuated,” he said. “And he did it, as he does everything, just for attention. I am probably more upset because I probably should have responded to it at the time it was going on.”
Skip Bayless remains unapologetic
Over the last two-plus decades, the situation has remained unresolved between Skip Bayless and Troy Aikman.
The Hall of Fame quarterback clearly isn’t a fan of Bayless’ work since the book. During an interview on The Seth Davis Podcast in 2016, Bayless voiced that nobody that read the book thought Aikman was gay and that he reached out to the Cowboys great.
“For the record, I tried to get in touch with Troy after he seemed to have a public issue with it,” Bayless said. “I wrote him a note that said, ‘I’m dumbfounded by this that you have any issue with this book. I would have thought you would have loved this book.’ He was like the last American hero to me. And to this day, I haven’t seen Troy, and I would be happy to sit down with him today and talk to him.”
Since then, there hasn’t been any movement toward a resolution between Bayless and Aikman. That much was evident a few months after that interview as the Hall of Famer bashed Fox for hiring the longtime sports columnist. He stated “success is achieved by acquiring and developing talented, respected, and credible individuals, none of which applies to Skip Bayless.”