Co host of ESPN's "First Take" and sports writer Skip Bayless has aroused controversy once again by calling Texas quarterback Johnny Manziel an alcoholic on the show last week. Many viewers were outraged by the comments, saying they were uncalled for.
Manziel is no stranger to hard partying and many of his escapades have been well documented in the media. Nevertheless, fans say that Bayless has no right to pass judgement on the young quarterback, especially on live television.
Bayless has long been a polarizing figure in the sports world. His strong opinions and lack of any hesitation to express them, no matter how they might offend someone, has earned him many enemies.
The 62 year old grew up in Oklahoma City in a family comprised of himself, two younger siblings, and alcoholic parents. His father owned a barbecue restaurant in town, but at home the troubled man was cold and often abusive around his children.
Bayless says growing in up in that type of environment only taught him how to be self sufficient and tough in his adult years. Other members of the family were devoted to the restaurant business, with Skip's younger brother Rick going on to open restaurants of his own and become a celebrity chef in his own right.
Skip calls himself the black sheep of the family because his interests took him in a whole different direction. After being awarded a sports writing scholarship to Vanderbilt College, Skip left home to pursue a career of his own, something he says his siblings never forgave him for.
Today Skip and Rick Bayless have no relationship. The brothers have both spoken publicly about their father, from very different perspectives.
While Skip has been open about his father's alcoholism and abuse, Rick has cited their father as his primary inspiration. After a brief experience with alcohol that didn't end well, Skip remained sober.
His focus is solely on sports and alcohol would only serve to get in the way. Even though Skip has rubbed many people the wrong way with things he's said or written, he continues to express his opinions with the same unwavering conviction.
Texas quarterback Manziel has undergone treatment for alcoholism and anger issues after being arrested in 2012 for disorderly conduct during winning celebrations. Despite that, he continues to be seen drinking and partying in public.
Manziel's parents have expressed concern over his behavior, wondering if finding fame at such a young age and so quickly is a factor in their son's behavior. Manziel's parents are also frustrated with how Texas A&M has handled their son, saying that the school isn't really concerned with his well being and only care about what he brings to the games.
Manziel is clearly a young, talented athlete who is struggling with his own serious issues. Fame often does nothing but worsen an already volatile situation, especially with someone at a young age.
Manziel's behavior is alarming, but does that mean someone like Skip Bayless has the right to call him out in a public forum? Perhaps Bayless recognizes some of his father's alcoholic behavior in the young athlete and feels he needs to speak up before it's too late.
Or maybe Bayless simply speaks without thinking of the consequences and has made a career out of arousing controversy in the sports world. In the end, it's really up to the fans to decide.