ESPN talking head Skip Bayless is paid to say some of the most extreme, ridiculous things possible in order to generate controversy, but he went too far on Monday when he accused Redskins fans (and white and black fans) of racism.
Discussing the Redskins quarterback situation, Bayless said white fans would want fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins, who is white, to succeed over first-round pick and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, who is black.
“Some foolish Redskins fans – fans, foolish, doesn’t that go together, right? – they’re gonna sit back and say, ‘God, RG3 was struggling. He fumbled, he threw a couple of bad passes. Maybe Kirk Cousins is better right now. Maybe we should go with Kirk.’ NO! No, I don’t want to see that! I don’t want to set up that dynamic!” said Bayless.
“I’m going to throw it out there,” Bayless continued. “You also have the black/white dynamic and the majority of Redskins fans are white and it’s just human nature if you’re white to root for the white guy because it just happens in sports. Just like the black community will root for the black quarterback.
“I’m for the black guy. I’m just saying I don’t like the dynamic for RG3. It could stunt his growth in the NFL.”
While I do agree that racism still exists and that some white fans are uncomfortable with black players or black quarterbacks and vice versa (believe me, I got the phone calls and emails as a national sports talk radio host to prove it), that is a minority opinion. The majority of sports fans would want their team to succeed regardless of the race of their players. The Washington Post even wrote a story about that subject matter last year as it pertains to Redskins fans.
Generalizing is a dangerous thing, and it can often lead to trouble. Maybe Skip Bayless would learn that lesson, but unfortunately as long as he drives ratings for the network, ESPN is unlikely to discipline him for accusing all white and black fans of being racially biased.