Shannon Sharpe made his return to Undisputed on Wednesday, the day after his co-host, Skip Bayless, addressed the backlash he’s received for his tweets about Damar Hamlin’s hospitalization on Monday night.
Bayless sparked outrage on social media when he posted a seemingly insensitive tweet after the Buffalo Bills’ Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game. The athlete remains hospitalized in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
“No doubt the NFL is considering postponing the rest of this game – but how? This late in the season, a game of this magnitude is crucial to the regular-season outcome … which suddenly seems so irrelevant,” Bayless tweeted.
Athletes and sports fans immediately called out the Fox Sports host, and fans of Undisputed speculated that Sharpe skipped out on Tuesday’s episode because of Bayless’ tweet.
Sharpe opened the show, explaining that he “wouldn’t get into speculation” regarding why he wasn’t on the previous episode but shared how Hamlin’s incident during Monday Night Football hit close to home for him.
Sharpe, a Hall of Fame tight end who won three Super Bowls, noted that while NFL players “know injuries are part of the game,” Hamlin’s collapse was markedly different.
“I’ve never seen anybody have to be revived and fight for their life on the field,” he added, recalling seeing his brother, former NFL wide receiver Sterling Sharpe, temporarily paralyzed during a game that ended his career.
Sharpe went on to address Bayless’ now-infamous tweet, saying that he disagreed with it and hoped that the journalist would take it down, when Bayless interrupted Sharpe, arguing that “nobody here had a problem with that tweet.”
“I’m not going to take it down. I stand by what I tweeted,” Bayless said.
“I cannot even get through a monologue without you interrupting me,” Sharpe replied. “I was just gonna say, Skip, I didn’t want yesterday to get into a situation where Damar Hamlin was the issue. We should’ve been talking about him and not getting into your tweet. That was what I wasn’t going to do, but you can’t even let me finish my opening monologue without you interrupting.”
“I was under the impression you weren’t going to bring this up because no one had a problem with that tweet,” Bayless said.
“No,” Sharpe responded. “Clearly, the bosses wanted you to offer an explanation.”
Although Bayless protested that “the bosses” didn’t have a problem with the tweet, when he addressed the controversy on Tuesday, he specifically noted, “My boss here at Fox called and said, ‘Hey, people are really reacting strongly to your tweet. Maybe you should clarify.’ Which I immediately did.”
Bayless claimed that the tweet was misunderstood and argued that he was putting himself in the shoes of people who had to make the call for whether the game would continue after Hamlin’s collapse.
“I made the point that this late in the season, with a game of this magnitude, it’s very difficult to postpone it, yet the end of my tweet was, all of which suddenly seems so irrelevant,” he added during Tuesday’s episode. “For the first time in the history of the NFL, my point was, it was all rendered irrelevant by what was happening on the football field in front of all those football players… they were shaken to their foundations.”
After his initial tweet caught flack — and his “boss at Fox” allegedly called him — Bayless followed up with a tweet apologizing for what he said was a misunderstanding.
“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,” Bayless tweeted. “Again, everything else is irrelevant. I prayed for him & will continue to.”
Hamlin’s uncle, Dorrian Glenn, spoke with CNN on Tuesday night, thanking the University of Cincinnati Medical Center staff for helping his nephew.
“If not for them my nephew probably wouldn’t be here,” he said, sharing that he was in Pittsburgh watching the game with Hamlin’s brother when they witnessed the 24-year-old NFL star collapse.
“It’s just heartbreaking seeing him like that,” he added. “I’m not a crier, but I’ve never cried so hard in my life. Just to know like my nephew basically died on the field and they brought him back to life.”
Both Hamlin’s parents, who were at the game when he collapsed, are by the Buffalo Bills DB’s side as he receives treatment. The athlete’s rep shared that his parents are still feeling a bit nervous when it comes to his recovery.
“They obviously are nervous,” Hamlin’s spokesperson, Jordon Rooney, told ET. “It’s a little scary for them but they’re optimistic because they know Damar.”
But Rooney said the family is feeling the support from the Bengals organization and is grateful to see all kinds of people rallying behind Hamlin as he recovers.
“It’s been phenomenal,” Rooney said about the support. “I mean, the family has been incredibly thankful because for them, it’s just a really tough moment. So to have so many people unite around this challenging time for them, I think it makes a difference. It just goes to show we can come together — even Bengals and Bills fans can come together. The family is honestly just incredibly thankful. They just keep saying, like, they’re just in disbelief. They’re just like, ‘Wow, this is amazing. I can’t believe how good these people are to us.'”
Source: ET Online