Skip Bayless and Fox Sports Hit New Low in Playing the Attention Game: TRAINA THOUGHTS

Author:
Publish date:

1. My personal rule for this column is not to give a few awful people in sports media the attention they crave. 

I'm going to break that rule today, and I hate myself for doing it, but when depression and mental health are used as a debate topic so a terrible sports show can get some social media attention, there are some points that need to be made. 

Before we get to that, I want to keep the focus on the mental health aspect of this story for a moment. 

Admitting you are struggling with depression or anxiety and seeking help for those things should ALWAYS be celebrated, not condemned. Only a depraved individual would think someone trying to fix themselves is a negative. 

NBA star Kevin Love has been one of the most vocal—if not the most vocal—athletes to educate people about mental health. Love's honesty with his own struggles has been admirable and important, so I want to highlight his words on the disgusting display put forth by a contemptible hot taker and Fox Sports yesterday.

This is the key line here by Love: "Mental health issues rob us of achieving our full potential."

Now imagine dealing with those mental health issues and having some jerk go on national TV, albeit to a minuscule audience, and mock and weaponize those issues and say you shouldn't have gone public.

But here's what I wish more people would grasp about this mess: This disgraceful incident is not just the doing of one horrible person.

Yes, the person who delivered the message has long been a clown with no credibility. But that's what Fox Sports is paying him for. They're not paying him to break down sports, they're not paying him to analyze sports and they're not paying him to talk sports. They are paying him to get attention—any kind of attention.

When he decided to rip Dak Prescott for addressing his mental health issues that intensified after Prescott's brother killed himself, he didn't do that all on his own. A producer most likely knew the comments were coming. His cohost just sat there and let him drop his pathetic take, uninterrupted. And his company refused to discipline him.

Before I continue, think about the sentence I just typed. Just think about it for a few seconds: "When he decided to rip Dak Prescott for addressing his mental health issues that intensified after Prescott's brother killed himself."

Do you understand how much of a vile person you have to be do that?

But, still don't just blame the person delivering the bullshit. You need to blame the people paying the person to deliver the bullshit.

And Fox showed its true colors in a weak statement released Thursday night in which it said it doesn't agree with the host's opinions and spoke to him about it.

In other words, keep doing what you are doing and thank you for getting your show and our network some much needed attention on social media, and we'll see you right back on the air tomorrow.

And just how desperate is FS1? It will condone these actions on a show that gets about 180,000 viewers a day. All this nonsense, all this embarrassment, all this soulless behavior just to get 180,000 people to watch a show.

While Fox clearly wants no part of doing something about this dangerous and inhumane behavior, there are some people who can make this host pay for his actions.

The Cowboys have the power to do something, and they should boycott doing any and all interviews with Fox this season. Then you'd see Fox executives turn on the hot-take host in approximately one second.

It's also hard not to wonder how Troy Aikman feels about all this. Fox's No. 1 analyst already had a strong dislike for the person who made the disparaging comments about Prescott. Aikman was already unhappy being colleagues with a person who once lied about him in a book.

If you had the Cowboys take action and if you had Aikman come out with a public demand, maybe Fox would take some action.

But, again, you must remember, this is all a game. Say something outrageous, have people on Twitter go wild, force columnists like me to address it and then hope some dopes fall for the trap and tune into our show to see if we apologize or address it.

And if you don't think this is all just a big game, just keep this in mind: When did Fox release its pathetic PR statement? At 8:24 p.m. Thursday, right at kickoff of the Texans-Chiefs game. That's called a news dump.

Fox PR wanted no part in addressing this situation, but the fire got too hot this time and it had no choice. 

However, Fox executives were probably popping champagne.

2. A big theme to come out of Thursday night's Texans-Chiefs opener was the sparse Kansas City crowd booing while the players from each team came together for a moment of unity. As I've written before, if the NFL was smart, it would just ignore the blowback from people offended by these things: don't engage, don't justify and just move forward.

Regarding the booing, this video from inside the stadium paints a slightly different picture than the one you may have had by just reading headlines. Yes, there was booing, which was absurd, but it wasn't like every person there was booing.

3. As for the Chiefs' 34–20 win over the Texans, the big story was rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who had 138 rushing yards and a touchdown.

As I said on Twitter on Thursday night, Edwards-Helaire needs and deserves a good nickname. My followers came up with some good ones.

However, the most suggested nickname by far was "Fresh Prince of Helaire." Obviously, that's a great nickname and works, but it doesn't address my original point. We need something shorter for Twitter purposes. I'm way to lazy to type out Fresh Prince of Helaire every time I want to praise him.

4. This is a good commercial.

5. This week's SI Media Podcast features an interview with New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand. We covered several NFL and college football media storylines for the upcoming seasons, including whether Tony Romo has more pressure on him after signing a monster contract, ESPN's new Monday Night Football booth, Fox shaking up its NFL crews, College GameDay going on the road but without fans and Fox's college football problem. We also touched on Thom Brennaman, Trey Wingo, Alex Rodriguez and more.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

6. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: In honor of the NFL season starting, let's remember the single greatest play in history.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: I've been fortunate enough to have a daily column since starting Hot Clicks back in 2007. And every year on this date, I always post David Letterman's memorable and powerful monologue from his first show back after 9/11. And every year, it's worth watching again.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.