Shannon Sharpe, the former NFL tight end and current co-host of the sports talk show, Undisputed, leaned into his co-anchor Skip Bayless for his widely criticized tweets following Damar Hamlin’s on-field collapse.
Bayless — who’s served up plenty of outrageous hot takes over the course of his career — garnered a fresh wave of criticism after wondering aloud how the NFL could go ahead with postponing the rest of the Bills-Bengals game after Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and had to be revived on the field. “No doubt the NFL is considering postponing the rest of this game — but how?” Bayless tweeted. “This late in the season, a game of this magnitude is crucial to the regular-season outcome … which suddenly seems so irrelevant.”
In a follow-up tweet, Bayless insisted he wasn’t hand-wringing about the outcome of a game, stating, “Nothing is more important than that young man’s health. That was the point of my last tweet. I’m sorry if that was misunderstood but his health is all that matters. Again, everything else is irrelevant. I prayed for him and will continue to.”
Still, the tweet struck a nerve, and Sharpe was notably absent from yesterday’s episode of Undisputed. When he returned Wednesday morning, he addressed the situation, declining to get into “speculation or conjecture or innuendo” about his absence but discussing what it was like watching Hamlin’s horrific injury.
“Watching that game on Monday night, what happened to Damar Hamlin struck me a little different,” Sharpe said, noting that NFL players are well aware of the risk of injury and he’d seen plenty during his career. “But I’ve never seen anybody have to be revived and fight for their life on the field, so that struck me a little differently,” he continued. “Because I remember seeing my brother paralyzed on the field, temporarily, and he was able to regain focus.”
Sharpe then acknowledged Bayless’ tweet, saying only that he disagreed with it and hoped that Bayless would take it down. He then appeared ready to return to Hamlin when Bayless interrupted: “Time out, time out, I’m not gonna take it down. I stand by what I tweeted.”
Things quickly grew heated, with Sharpe snapping, “I cannot even get through a monolog without you interrupting me… I didn’t want to — yesterday — get into a situation where Damar Hamlin wasn’t the issue. We should be talking about him and not get into your tweet. That’s what I was gonna do. But you can’t even let me finish my opening monolog without you interrupting!”
A bit of behind-the-scenes laundry was then aired out live. Bayless said he didn’t think Sharpe would even bring up the tweet because “nobody here had a problem with that tweet.” Sharpe, after a beat, retorted, “Clearly the bosses wanted you to offer an explanation.” Before Bayless could get another word in, Sharpe awkwardly threw the segment back to the show’s moderator, Jen Hale, and it ended there.
According to the most recent reports, Hamlin is still in critical condition in the ICU at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Per CBS News, his uncle said Tuesday night that Hamlin’s heart stopped twice, first on the field and again at the hospital. He’s also reportedly suffered lung damage and has been hooked up to a ventilator to help him breathe.