Maybe it was the headline calling him a "Modern Day Minstrel" or the comparison to Rush Limbaugh that got underneath Skip Bayless' ripped muscles. Or maybe the sports journalist and host of ESPN's First Take figured he wasn't about to let Luther Campbell call him a race baiting huckster on his own program. One thing is certain: Uncle Luke's February 28 column about Bayless spooked the talking head so much he pulled an offer to have Campbell appear on First Take this morning.
"My New Times piece got me on the banned list," Campbell says. "Skip only wants token people to go on the air with him."
Last week, Campbell was asked to debate Bayless, who is in Miami this week for the NBA Finals, according to Uncle Luke's publicist Tresa Sanders. She also verified that yesterday afternoon an ESPN booker yanked the offer because of Campbell's column. We tweeted Bayless, who uses Twitter regularly, for a response. We'll update this post if he replies.
In his column, Campbell accused Bayless of profiting from his hyper critical opinions about African-American athletes, especially LeBron James. In fact, the Oklahoma City native is part of the sports pundit cottage industry making their living off hating on the three-time MVP. To counter his viewpoint, Bayless has African-American athletes or sports columnists debate him. One his regular guests is Stephen A. Smith, who loves to bloviate as much as Bayless does when the cameras are rolling.
"ESPN producers figured out I am not going to sit there and let him abuse James, Wade, the Heat, and the city," Campbell says. "He never allows his guests to call him out. That wasn't going to happen with me."