ESPN commentator Skip Bayless said Oct. 20 that the 2003 rape allegations made against Kobe Bryant in Eagle, Co., gave him an “edge” that ultimately boosted his sneaker sales.
ESPN’s Skip Bayless and NBA player Kobe Bryant.
Speaking on Monday’s edition of “First Take,” Bayless reasoned that prior to the allegations, Bryant had too clean of an image that made him less marketable.
“Remember Kobe pre- Eagle, Colorado? He failed his first sneaker deal because he was too clean cut. And I think it was Adidas that had him first – correct me if I’m wrong – but he couldn’t sell sneakers because he didn’t have enough edge,” Bayless said during the show. “But then post-Eagle, Colorado, it brought a little attention to him… like it gave him a little bit of sizzle.”
The comments come off as controversial and not completely accurate. During the court case, Bryant lost numerous sponsors. Nike eventually made Bryant a shoe the next year, only after the court case was dropped, according to Deadspin.com. The charges were dropped and the case was settled in a civil trial.
This is not the first time Bayless or someone else on the show made comments that seemingly crossed the line.
Earlier this year, Bayless’ co-star Stephen A. Smith was suspended from “First Take” for insensitive comments about domestic violence in relation to the Ray Rice scandal. In December of 2012, Rob Parker, a contributor to the show, was fired for questioning Robert Griffin III’s Blackness.
ESPN has not responded to Bayless’ recent comments.