Skip Bayless Apologizes for Damar Hamlin Tweet, Co-Host Shannon Sharpe Skips ‘Undisputed’ Anyway (Video)

Sharpe’s no-show was interpreted as a protest of Bayless’ viral tweet about the Bills-Bengals game after Hamlin was stricken

Shannon Sharpe, Skip Bayless
Shannon Sharpe, Skip Bayless (Getty Images)

“Undisputed” sports commentator Shannon Sharpe’s unexplained absence from the Fox show on Tuesday led fans to speculate that he was silently protesting co-host Skip Bayless’ insensitive tweet about Damar Hamlin from the night before.

The 24-year-old Buffalo Bills player collapsed on the field during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. CPR was administered for 10 minutes before Hamlin’s heartbeat was restored, and he remains hospitalized in critical condition.

While thousands of fans tweeted their concern for Hamlin, Bayless seemed more focused on the game itself.

“No doubt the NFL is considering postponing the rest of this game – but how?” Bayless tweeted at 9:30 p.m, before the game was officially postponed, “This late in the season, a game of this magnitude is crucial to the regular-season outcome … which suddenly seems so irrelevant.”

Bayless, whose initial tweets did express concern for Hamlin, was immediately blasted by fans, athletes and sports journalists. Former Cleveland Cavaliers player Kendrick Perkins, who is now an ESPN analyst, tweeted, “You’re a sick individual. Real Talk.”

Dez Bryant, who played for the Dallas Cowboys, tweeted, “F— you Skip Bayless,” adding, “WE NEED TO CANCEL @RealSkipBayless ASAP!!!”

Isaiah Thomas, a former Celtics player, responded to Bayless’ tweet with, “I hope they fire you bro!!! For you to even THINK of the game is very sad.”

Brian Lindner wrote on Penn Live that Bayless is “a living, breathing troll … so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he just couldn’t bring himself to be completely human in the moments following the frightening injury.”

Meanwhile, Sharpe tweeted Monday night, “Please keep Demar Hamlin and his family in your thoughts and prayers. NFL doesn’t have a manual on how to proceed after an incident like this.”

Fans supported Sharpe’s absence. “I respect Shannon Sharpe for not showing up to today’s Undisputed,” one viewer tweeted.

“That boy Skip fighting for his life. Glad Shannon didn’t show up. What Skip did last night was disgusting,” another wrote.

Bayless did apologize on Tuesday’s show, saying, “I’m still shook up by what happened last night to Damar Hamlin,” adding, “nothing is more important than that young man’s health.”

He tried to explain that his controversial tweet was meant to convey the sentiment that, given Hamlin’s collapse, “everything else is irrelevant.” He stated, “That was the point of my last tweet. I’m sorry if I was misunderstood, but his health is all that matters. Again, everything else is irrelevant. I prayed for him and will continue to.”

He said he got a call from his “boss at Fox,” who told him, “Hey, people are really reacting strongly to your tweet. Maybe you should clarify.”

On Tuesday, he said he wasn’t sure that he’d be doing an episode of “Undisputed”: “I didn’t sleep much knowing that we had a show that we might or might not do.” [Watch the clip of Tuesday’s “Undisputed” above.]

Bayless was previously criticized for his comments about Dallas Cowboys player Dak Prescott, which he said were “misconstrued,” and for which he did not apologize.

He and Sharpe’s discussions on “Undisputed” are often heated and contentious, as in this recent argument about Tom Brady where Bayless called Sharpe’s position, “a flat-out lie that you’re perpetrating.”