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Truthfully on the show this might be slightly more than a John Clayton/Sean Salisbury type battle, but off the set I would think it's nothing more than simply just part of the show.
I did come across this article though which may leave the public reserved for speculation.
Stephen A. Smith flipped off Skip Bayless during ESPN’s ‘First Take’
by Chris Chase 2/2/2012
Stephen A. Smith lived out an ESPN viewer's fantasy on Thursday when he flipped the bird to everyone's favorite punching bag, Skip Bayless, during a live segment on "First Take."
The vocal personalities were discussing Eli Manning and Tom Brady when the finger wagging occurred. Bayless made the point that there's not as much pressure on Eli in the Super Bowl because he isn't regarded as highly as Brady. Smith, as he's obligated to do, disagreed.
As he was talking, Bayless was shuffling papers in his hands. Sportsgrid.com has the video of what happened next.
Smith asked, "Skip, why you flickin' the papers in your hand." He then raised the offending finger and kept it up for a little more than a second. Nobody on either set seemed to notice and the segment loudly continued.
Viewers took to Twitter to discuss the incident and the reaction quickly got back to Smith. He insisted it was an accident. He wrote:
Will ya'll stop. I don't care what it looked like. I would never flip ANYONE the Bird -- including @RealSkipBayless. Was just talking w/ my hands like that. Folks start nonsense for a reason.
Do I believe Stephen A. Smith, a guy who's been on television thousands of times in his life, intentionally gave Skip Bayless the finger while the cameras were rolling? Not really; though he certainly wouldn't have copped to it if he did.
If he says it was an errant hand motion, then I believe it was an errant hand motion. If he was talking to anyone other than Bayless, I doubt anyone would have noticed anyway.
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