NFL analyst Skip Bayless is under fire over a tweet in reaction to safety Damar Hamlin‘s medical emergency during the Buffalo Bills‘ (12-3) highly anticipated Week 17 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals (11-4) on Monday, January 2.
The game was suspended with 5:58 left in the first quarter after Hamlin collapsed following a collision with Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. The 24-year-old was given CPR on the field before being transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in “critical condition,” per an official NFL statement shortly after 10 p.m. Eastern time.
At 1:48 a.m. Eastern time, the Bills confirmed Hamlin was “currently sedated and listed in critical condition.” A second team update at 1:23 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday noted that Hamlin remained in the intensive care unit in critical condition.
Before the league officially postponed the game, Bayless sounded off on the implications of possibly canceling the marquee Monday Night Football showdown. While Bills and Bengals players cleared the benches to kneel on the field to pray for Hamlin, Bayless tweeted, “I’ve seen so many horrific injuries suffered on football fields yet never have I seen a reaction like this. In every other situation I witnessed or covered, the game always went on fairly quickly. The attitude was, ‘Hey, that’s football.’ For these players, this was DIFFERENT.”
Bayless added in a follow-up 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.”
The second tweet caused an immediate backlash on Twitter. Former three-time NFL All-Pro Shawne Merriman tweeted, “Never really had an opinion on @RealSkipBayless takes but he absolutely crossed the line with this one,” while former NFL wide receiver Dez Bryant wrote, “F*** YOU SKIP BAYLESS,” before adding, “Is it a block button to block everybody who is trying to defend skip Bayless? Do you think any player from both sides give a damn about standings? No.. btw commish you deserve a hand clap for making the right decision canceling the game.”
Instagram sports influencer Bob Menery tweeted, “Bro skip bayless is done!!! You’re a f****** piece of s*** and an idiot. I will never watch you again you dumb f*** and added, “I don’t even use twitter but I’m on here to say @RealSkipBayless is a f****** p***** a** b**** hoping for clicks to stay relevant.”
Former NBA center turned ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins tweeted, “You’re a sick individual. Real Talk,” while former Hornets guard Isaiah Thomas wrote, “I hope they fire you bro!!! For you to even THINK of the game is very sad.”
Bills defensive tackle Tim Settle tweeted, “Shannon been checked you bout how you talk learn how to stfu,” referring to Shannon Sharpe’s extremely heated quarrel with Bayless on “Undisputed” in December.
Skip Bayless Clarified His Tweets & Apologized Following the Backlash
Bayless saw the backlash on social media and put out another tweet 52 minutes later to clarify his message and apologize.
Bayless tweeted, “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. Again, everything else is irrelevant. I prayed for him & will continue to.”
Several analysts and fans criticized the reporter’s apology. The Power Hour host Rannae Stubs directly responded, “Just delete the tweet then.” Former Bay New 9 sports reporter Chris Torello wrote, “Skip has never admitted he was wrong or misunderstood. SOMEONE above him told him to fix this.”
Bills to Fly Home After NFL Suspends Game: Report
Approximately an hour after the NFL postponed the Bills-Bengals matchup, FOX19 reporter Joe Danneman tweeted, “Source: Bills are flying home. They are not staying in Cincinnati.”
As of midnight Eastern time, much of the Bills team was still present at Paycor Stadium, according to ESPN’s broadcast. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs was also seen arriving at the UC Medical Center, located approximately two miles from the stadium, to be with his teammate.
Hamlin’s teammates filled Twitter with messages of love and support. Allen tweeted, “Please pray for our brother.” Tight end Dawson Knox wrote, “Prayer is real, and it’s powerful. Constantly praying for Damar and his family.”
Hamlin’s agent Ira Turner issued a statement via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, “Please continue to pray for Damar and his family. We currently have no update at this time. Will ask that you keep the family in your prayers.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the Bills released an official update on Hamlin’s status which stated, “Hamlin spent last night in the intensive care unit and remains there today in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. We are grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received thus far.”