The Starting Five's Michael Tillery unleashed Part II of his epic Skip Bayless interview and today we find out some of the reasons Skip became a full-blown Barry Bonds supporter.
Blame it on Jeff Kent. Oh, and Rick Reilly.
[I]n April of 2001, Rick Reilly…then the columnist at Sports Illustrated…wrote his back of the magazine column on what bad of a guy Barry Bonds was and it featured numerous quotes from Jeff Kent. Jeff Kent…and I can speak to this because I was there…was the real Barry Bonds! He was the real bad guy in the clubhouse. He was the one who was moody, volatile, quick tempered and difficult for his teammates.
"Jeff Kent took Rick Reilly under his wing and filled his notebook. He gave him scathing quotes about Barry Bonds. You can just look these up, but that was the turning point because Rick's columns were powerful in that they set the national tone....This is before the onslaught of the Internet–slightly pre-Internet explosion. Sports Illustrated was still the Bible of sports. He creamed Barry…just creamed him. It set a tone of that's it…it's in stone...he's a bad guy!"
I don't know if would've gone with "creamed" right there, but Bayless makes his point: If Rick Reilly were not such a popular and influential columnist at the time, and Jeff Kent was not feeding him negative quotes about Bonds, America would've have fully embraced him as a misunderstood anti-hero and baseball sycophants wouldn't have crucified him for breaking one of the most sacred records in sports.
One person Bayless won't ever, ever, EVER feel sorry for is Michael Vick:
I'm coming down hard on Michael Vick because I think he deserves it. He does have some thug in him....I'm with you on the small percentage of Black athletes that get into trouble but is there some thug in Michael? Yes! He was raised that way and that's part of his makeup. That wasn't the first nefarious incident where he was involved.
Skip Bayless Interview Part II [The Starting Five]