Shannon Sharpe issued a tearful goodbye Tuesday as he officially announced he was walking away from Skip Bayless and FS1’s “Undisputed.”
It was news the sports media world knew was coming for two weeks, with plenty of speculation on exactly why Sharpe had sought a buyout from Fox Sports. There have been reports of tension with Bayless, particularly over his handling of the Damar Hamlin situation and some on-air disputes with Sharpe, including a particularly fiery interaction where Sharpe called him out for taking a “personal shot” earlier this year.
However, for all of the differences that have pushed them apart and led to Sharpe’s decision to leave the show, there is still a bond between them that is why the show began with those two in the first place. Bayless was insistent on Sharpe being the man opposite him when he left ESPN for Fox Sports, and the two shared an emotional moment on Tuesday to close the show, thanking each other in a rather touching segment.
It’s not often you see this kind of genuine emotion out of Skip, but this was pretty clearly not a performative thing. What comes next for the show remains to be seen, but one would think guests fill-in until they land on a permanent co-host (or go the First Take route with a rotating cast opposite Skip). As for Shannon, he’ll have plenty of opportunities, with Stephen A. Smith extending the invite to join First Take‘s cast, but as they note, doing sports TV every morning is a “voracious beast” and it’s possible Sharpe will look to do his podcast and take some time away before jumping back in to a full-time deal again.