THE BLOG

Jon Stewart Must Rescue Us From ESPN's First Take

03/10/2013 07:51 pm ET | Updated May 10, 2013

It has been over eight years.

Eight years since Jon Stewart was invited onto CNN's political debate show Crossfire.

In the eight years since, Stewart has emerged as one of the nation's biggest stars. The Daily Show has become must-see-television for left-leaning citizens with interests in comedy, politics or both.

Crossfire is long gone. Just another cable news program that didn't hold up over time. The most lasting memory of the show was the episode when Stewart went on and decimated the show's format and its' two co-hosts, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson.

Stewart correctly pointed out that the show didn't elevate the discourse on politics, in fact it did the opposite, it lowered it.

Crossfire was a show that promoted anger, dissension and polarized people. It took issues that had numerous shades of grey within them, and broke them down into simplistic black-and-white terms.

Stewart did cable news viewers with a thirst for something beyond just yelling a service, and now it is time for Stewart to come to the rescue of sports fans everywhere and liberate us from ESPN's First Take.

Enough is enough.

It's time for America and athletes in general to be rid of the yelling, screaming and over-the-top, hyperbolic nonsense that pollutes the airwaves every day.

Anyone who watched the interaction between Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman and First Take co-host Skip Bayless on Thursday knows what I'm talking about.

Bayless, whose career has morphed from that of a controversial beat writer following the Dallas Cowboys, to one of ESPN's most well-known television personalities has taken on a role similar to that of an angry, shunned child.

He's like the kid that didn't make the team, and he still hasn't gotten over it. Rather than evaluating the sports he professes to love, he takes personal disputes which are small fires and throws gasoline on them, or if there is no fire, Bayless can be counted on to pile up some dry sticks and light a match.

Recently Sherman and New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis engaged in a war of words on Twitter.

Bayless sensing blood in the water naturally took a side, in this case he took Revis' side.

Rather than expend too much energy supporting Revis, Bayless instead chose to focus his energy lobbing insults at Sherman. Maybe Sherman isn't as good as Revis, maybe he is, there's no question that he's a very good NFL cornerback. There probably wasn't much question in Bayless' mind either, but that's not what Bayless does.

Nuance just isn't part of the equation when it comes Bayless. He'd rather break this down into some sort of "good corner vs. bad corner" showdown.

Bayless was baiting Sherman, and as could be expected, Sherman followed in the tradition of Terrell Suggs, Kevin Durant and Charles Barkley. He lashed out at Bayless in an on-air rant that was memorable, for all the wrong reasons.

Sherman's rant was well versed. He made a number of good points. He joins a list of Bayless' on-air adversaries who have effectively made Bayless appear to be nothing more than a verbal bully, a hyperbolic bomb thrower, which is really what he is.

Sure Sherman was echoing the sentiments of many when he went-off on Bayless, but he was also playing right into Bayless' hands. ESPN wants this attention, they want the athlete vs. media dynamic. They're cable television, and they thrive on conflict.

I realize that I'm getting into Bayless territory with the tone of this column, but enough is enough.

How many guests have to come on that show and expose him as nothing more than a mouth that lacks respect and knowledge of the sports he professes to love, before he is declared irrelevant?

Both Mark Cuban and Jalen Rose have had well-publicized exchanges with Bayless. Both men exposed him for his overall lack of understanding and appreciation of the sports he's paid handsomely to express his opinions on.

Seeing as how athletes and even owners have not yet been able to effectively convince ESPN that Bayless' shtick is tired, insulting and quite frankly juvenile. Perhaps Stewart should be brought in to clean this mess up?

He was effective in dismantling Crossfire, he exposed its flaws, its lack of depth and even discussed how a series of never-ending, anger-filled exchanges doesn't increase interest and understanding of the subject matter, it denigrates it.

There's plenty of room and demand for quality debates focused on sports, and the culture that surrounds sports.

It's just being drowned out by the non-stop yelling and school-yard insults that have made First Take a show that should be on its' last take.