Shannon Sharpe admits he’s not close with Skip Bayless

The tension between Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless isn’t just for television.

The co-hosts on FS1″s “Undisputed” went through a rough patch recently and eventually came face-to-face to work out their differences, Sharpe said Wednesday on SiriusXM’s “The Adam Schein Podcast” — adding that the pair aren’t close outside of the show.

“We had a bad two months,” Sharpe said when asked how he would characterize his relationship with Bayless now. “I wasn’t gonna allow two bad months to ruin six years of a great working relationship.”

Sharpe did not reveal the cause of the friction between the two, nor did he share exactly when the “bad two months” occurred.

Things did appear to reach a boiling point between the two in January, when Bayless came under fire for a tweet about Bills safety Damar Hamlin. Bayless complained about the Bills-Bengals Week 17 game being postponed due to Hamlin suffering cardiac arrest on the field.

Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless on FS1’s “Undisputed” on January 3, 2023.

“We have a great working relationship,” Sharpe said. “Skip and I are not as close as Skip and Stephen A. [Smith] because Stephen A. came from the same background that Skip does. They did things together, they hung out together. I’m more of a homebody. I’m more of a loner. I’m to myself. If Skip likes you, Skip wants to hang out, he hangs out with Stephen A. … Most of the time, it’s just me and my dogs in my home.

“I think it helps our relationship on-air that we are not that close,” Sharpe continued. “He doesn’t know what I’m thinking and he doesn’t know what I’m going to say. I don’t know what he’s thinking and I don’t know what he’s gonna say. So, I think it helps us television-wise. It might have hurt our personal relationship, but I definitely think it’s helped our on-air relationship.

“So, for me, we had a bad two months. We got in the room and worked it out. We realized that we were better together than apart and we just made sure that, look, we’re going to color between the lines.”

Shannon Sharpe on FS1's "Undisputed" on January. 4, 2023.
Shannon Sharpe on FS1’s “Undisputed” on January. 4, 2023.

Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith
Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith
Getty Images

Bayless and Smith were co-hosts on ESPN’s “First Take” from 2012 until 2016, when Bayless left the show for “Undisputed.”

Sharpe’s admission that there was tension with Bayless behind the scenes at FS1 isn’t that surprising after their heated on-air exchange over the Hamlin situation.

“No doubt the NFL is considering postponing the rest of this game – but how?” Bayless tweeted at the time. “This late in the season, a game of this magnitude is crucial to the regular-season outcome … which suddenly seems so irrelevant.”

Bayless faced backlash over his tweet due to the sensitivity of the matter, which saw Bills medical staff administer CPR to Hamlin on the field before he was transported by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Hamlin was hospitalized in the ICU and was placed on a ventilator before he was discharged on Jan. 11.

Sharpe was absent from “Undisputed” the day after Bayless tweeted about Hamlin. When he returned the following day, Sharpe called out his co-host and said he disagreed with the tweet.

“Skip tweeted something and although I disagree with the tweet, and hopefully Skip will take it down,” Sharpe said in part, before Bayless chimed in that he stood by his tweet.

“I cannot even get through a monologue without you interrupting me,” Sharpe fired back. “I didn’t want yesterday to get into a situation where Damar Hamlin was the issue. We should’ve been talking about him and not getting into your tweet. That was what I wasn’t going to do, but you can’t even let me finish my open monologue.”

Sharpe then claimed higher ups at Fox Sports 1 wanted Bayless to “offer an explanation” for his tweet, to which Bayless said “no one had a problem with that tweet.”

Bayless eventually apologized for his tweet on social media and on “Undisputed,” and the co-hosts put on a united front.

Hamlin was discharged from a Buffalo hospital following a week-long stay at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

The second-year safety, who is on injured reserve, has a long road to recovery. Hamlin requires the use of oxygen and is having his heart monitored regularly, according to his longtime friend and business partner, Jordon Rooney.