Photo: Nicholas Hunt / Staff via Getty Images
  /  09.23.2023

Shannon Sharpe finally confirmed that his December 2022 blowout with Skip Bayless on “Undisputed” was the catalyst behind his exit from the sports show. The retired NFL star went toe-to-toe with Bayless for seven years before he signed off for good on the Fox Sports 1 ratings draw in June.

During a heated exchange about then-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Bayless took a jab at his co-star. “[Brady]’s still playing at a high level at 45 when you had to stop at 35. That’s the point … he’s way better than you were. Way better,” said the former ESPN commentator to Sharpe.

In a new episode of “The Stephen A. Smith Show” on YouTube, Sharpe reflected on how he felt disrespected by Bayless. “I remember going home, calling my sister. I called my brother… It took a lot. It took a lot for me not to put my hands on [Bayless]. It actually did,” said the former Denver Broncos tight end.

Sharpe also took accountability for allowing Bayless to feel empowered enough to take a dig at him. “A lot of that is my fault, because there were times that led up to that that I felt shots were taken, and I let it go. And he felt that he could go over the top in that situation,” said the three-time Super Bowl winner.

He continued, “Whatever the relationship is, once one partner has no respect for the other, the other partner then, in turn, loses respect for said partner. Then I think it is only a matter of time because I felt in that moment he had lost all respect for me … This is ‘Undisputed.’ Skip and Shannon. This is not yours. So, it really, really hurt me. Had I attacked him personally live on television, what would’ve happened?”

Earlier this month, Sharpe stepped into a new role as Smith’s co-host on “First Take.” He is slated to appear on the show twice a week throughout the football season. Like the NFL Hall of Famer, Smith also earned his stripes in the world of sports commentating after working with Bayless on “Undisputed.” They both agreed that the Bayless is a “different beast” but deserving of thanks for the opportunities he provided both men.

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