Skip Bayless opened FS1’s Undisputed today with a lengthy discussion about the fallout from Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension — specifically the report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Ezekiel Elliott’s appeal plan hinges on emphasizing that his accuser repeatedly threatened to ruin his life after they broke up.
Bayless said that Goodell is “again making the case” that he should be fired, and that the NFL Commissioner looks “foolish and incompetent” in recusing himself from hearing the testimony from the Cowboys running back and his accuser during the league’s investigation, but nonetheless doling out the punishment.
You may be thinking right now, Okay, who cares what Skip thinks? But, this is a big deal because Fox is the partner with the NFL that arguably gets the best slate of games with its Sunday NFC package, and we all know how the league feels about this type of criticism from its partner network pundits.
In 2014, in the wake of the Ray Rice fiasco, Bill Simmons, Keith Olbermann, and Jason Whitlock, all members of ESPN at the time, called for Goodell’s ouster. For reasons perhaps including but not limited to that, none of the three were at the network by 2016 (this was also when cord cutting came to light, but Simmons in particular was notably singled out for his tone and criticism of Goodell after calling him a liar and daring his ESPN bosses to censor him for it; Olbermann was asked to tone down his “commentary,” which is his hallmark).
And, while ESPN and the NFL would say outwardly that this was in no way connected, ESPN received a very bad slate of Monday Night Football games in 2015.
Maybe Skip reckons that a JerryKraft coalition could badly wound Goodell or even wind up costing the Commissioner his job, but saying Goodell should be out on-air on a league partner is treading in some dangerous territory.