Was Skip Bayless’ Damar Hamlin Tweet Insensitive? Or Did It Expose What Football Hides In Plain Sight?

Image Credit: The Washington Post / Getty

While the world waited with bated breath to know the condition of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, sports shock jock Skip Bayless sent off a polarizing tweet.

“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.”

Hamlin’s injury took place in the first quarter, the 5:58 mark, to be exact. The NFL postponed the game after Hamlin received medical attention on the field.

Read The Room. Everyone.

These facts made Bayless’s tweet even more insensitive during a charged moment where the only thing that mattered was the life of Damar Hamlin, which hung in the balance. It was a gut instinct to think of football above all, even the health and safety of the players themselves. But isn’t that the nature of the beast that is the NFL in general?

“Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in the Buffalo Bills’ game versus the Cincinnati Bengals,” the Bills said in a statement early Tuesday morning. “His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.”

The athletic world and football fans’ disappointment in Bayless was intense, and they let him know it. The overall sentiment was so bad that even his co-host Shannon Sharpe was noticeably absent from the set of their “Undisputed” television show on Tuesday. Bayless gave his solo monologue and expressed his difficulty in doing the show as he usually does amid the circumstances hanging over Hamlin.

But Bayless did not apologize for his tweet, which is so on brand for him. Still, people felt the need to hold Bayless and the NFL accountable.

Selective Outrage

“How come there is no repercussions for any of Skip Bayless’s insensitive things that he has said over the years?? Hmmmm….” Washington Wizards player Kyle Kuzma tweeted.

The Cincinnati Bengals game against the Buffalo Bills could have led to a clinching of the AFC North title. It also would have meant back-to-back AFC North titles for the first time in the franchise’s history. Now with the game suspended, the hierarchy is on pause in the race to the postseason, but the NFL swears that wasn’t what they were thinking after Hamlin’s incident.

NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent dispelled the idea that the league gave players five minutes to warm up following Hamlin’s on-field medical emergency.

“I’m not sure where that came from,” Vincent said to the media late Monday. “Frankly, there was no time period for the players to get warmed up. Frankly, the only thing that we asked was that [referee] Shawn [Smith] communicate with both head coaches to make sure they had the proper time inside the locker room to discuss what they felt like was best.

“Five-minute warmup never crossed my mind, personally. And I was the one that was communicating with the commissioner. We never, frankly, it never crossed our mind to talk about warming up to resume play. That’s ridiculous. That’s insensitive. And that’s not a place that we should ever be in.”

Dr. Bennett Omalu, famously played by Will Smith in the 2016 movie, “Concussion,” crusaded for the world to understand the dangers of professional football and raise awareness of the neurologic condition from chronic head trauma called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Education, counseling, and other programming have been implemented around the issue, but football is football.

Skip Bayless is tone-deaf and cannot read a room. Unfortunately, that is what he does for a living, and most people that get paid for bad behavior will never understand the outrage at their actions. The real question is whether the game will modify entirely or become a no-contact sport and sacrifice the billions generated from the thing that everyone watches the game for dangerous finesse and competitive on-field rage.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.