Sharpe waves goodbye
It was reported Wednesday that the Hall of Fame tight end, former AbsolutePoker ambassador, and co-host of FOX Sports 1’s Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe, has agreed to a contract buyout with his employer.
one of the biggest voices in sports media
Sharpe, 54, has been a part of the FS1 team for the past seven years and has become one of the biggest voices in sports media. Whether it be his insight from his 14-year playing career, extravagant reactions to breaking news, or loquaciousness on social media, he has been just as successful in his second career as he was in his first.
In April, Sharpe responded to the news that the NFL had suspended five players for gambling in his typical style:
Recently, Sharpe’s relationship with his ever-controversial co-host Skip Bayless has become more rough around the edges. The timing of his decision to leave the show comes off as far from coincidental given the number of disagreements the pair seem to have had in recent months.
If you’re still wondering why Shannon Sharpe is leaving one of the most popular sports talk shows on television, here is some food for thought…
The Damar Hamlin confrontation
Bayless, never one to shy away from sharing a controversial opinion on social media, published a tweet that caused the first major rift in his relationship with Sharpe on January 2 this year.
The Buffalo Bills were playing the Cincinnati Bengals when Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and went into cardiac arrest on the field. He had to be revived in the middle of the stadium and barely avoided death. It was a shocking situation, that later led to many bettors checking the fine print of their wagers on the postponed game.
suggested the league needed to finish the game
Bayless tweeted about the incident and suggested the league needed to finish the game. The insensitiveness of the tweet led to Sharpe calling out of work the next day and then an in-studio. When he did reappear on-air the day after, he got into it with Bayless in a heated exchange:
Sharpe was visibly upset and short-tempered for the remainder of the show and in future episodes.
“Jealous” of Tom Brady
One of Bayless’ many M.O.s is to defend Tom Brady at every turn. That came to a head in December 2022 when Sharpe was criticizing Brady for his poor play and Bayless accused Sharpe of being jealous that Brady was still playing the game he once did.
Bayless did not back down and continued to pile it on
Sharpe questioned if Bayless was really willing to launch a personal attack on him for criticizing Brady’s on-field performance, but Bayless did not back down and continued to pile it on:
The conversation got so out of hand that Bayless appeared to nearly drop an F-bomb in the middle of the back-and-forth. Just like the Hamlin situation, the rest of the show was rocky, and it was clear that Bayless’ comments struck a nerve.
Club Shay Shay
Other than on-air spats with his co-host, another reason for Sharpe’s exit could simply be his success outside of Undisputed.
Sharpe launched his podcast Club Shay Shay in September 2020. It quickly became a success because of Sharpe’s infectious personality, riveting stories, and bubbly personality. He’s had high-profile guests such as Floyd Mayweather, Snoop Dogg, Travis Kelce, and many others.
Sharpe has made just under $4.1m from his podcast in viewership alone
The podcast’s YouTube channel has 1.18 million subscribers and 226.6 million total video views at the time of writing. The average pay for YouTubers is about $18 per 1,000 views, which means that assuming the average rate, Sharpe has made just under $4.1m from his podcast in viewership alone. That excludes the possibility of partnership cash as well.
Club Shay Shay was also part of FS1 under the terms of his contract but is coming with him to the free-agent market. The increasing prevalence and popularity of podcasts is another weapon for Sharpe to use during negotiations with a new employer, should he choose to end up back in the filming studio.
Perhaps Sharpe simply doesn’t need Undisputed or the hassle of his co-host anymore.