ESPN2’s “First Take” program has grown into somewhat of a phenomenon. So much so that the network recently reformatted the program completely around the show’s two master debaters, Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith.
One thing about debate-driven programs – specifically one such as “First Take” which has ten hours of content to fill each week – is that there will occasionally be an opinion that will light up the Internet and send the country up in arms.
So on Wednesday, Bayless took a break from talking about Tim Tebow for eight minutes and gave observations about what a remarkable season shortstop Derek “Yankee For Life” Jeter is having – perhaps too remarkable.
“I am shocked about what I’m seeing from Derek Jeter right now,” Bayless said. “You would have to have your head in the sand – or your head somewhere else – to not at least wonder: how is he doing this? … How can I not wonder, is he using something?” He added that Jeter looks “stronger” and “a little quicker” for a 38-year-old athlete in Bayless’ eyes.
And while, Bayless, for his part, stopped short of pointing a finger at Jeter and claiming he was using HGH, he linked a quote from BALCO founder Victor Conte to this discussion – something that really didn’t sit well with Skip’s co-host.
Here’s video of the debate (including Smith’s over-the-top “good cop” performance):
Anyway, moments before Wednesday night’s tilt between the Yankees and the White Sox in Chicago, No. 2 was asked for his thoughts on Bayless’ open wondering that Jeter might be juicing.
“What do you want me to say?”, Jeter said. “You can say whatever you want to say now… Whenever you have people that anytime you bring something like this to light with guys that are doing things, it’s like, now you have everybody questioning everything. That’s the unfortunate thing… There’s no repercussions.
“I ain’t getting involved with this, man,” Jeter vowed, before voicing one suggestion: “Maybe Skip should be tested. I don’t know him, but…”
The class act that Jeter is, we knew he would waste absolutely zero energy worrying about the class clown that is Bayless. His response was cool, calm and true – with a “tit-for-tat” zinger at the end of it.
Perhaps Skip Bayless should take Derek Jeter up on his offer – and get tested live on “First Take”.
If not for human growth hormones, then maybe a lie detector test will do.