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A DEBATE CHALLENGE TO SKIP BAYLESS AND JAMIE HOROWITZ:

On Tuesday we learned that ESPN's First Take, the debate show featuring Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith that leads the sports world in least common denominator-ing, will begin airing a live half hour edition in ESPN's afternoon lineup. This is no small accomplishment. The show is being rewarded with valuable real estate on network's flagship station. Perhaps the prediction from Deadspin's editor Tommy Craggs will come true sooner than later: Soon ESPN will devolve into nothing more than 24 hours of people arguing with Skip Bayless (http://deadspin.com/5871669/soon-espn-will-be-nothing-but-24-hours-of-people-disagreeing-with-skip-bayless).

Jamie Horowitz, the executive producer of this festival of goonery and a golden boy at ESPN headquarters, has repeatedly said through the network's PR arm that Bayless is 100 percent authentic, "a journalist at heart" and a "gifted debater." He mentioned that Skip was the "first analyst to say LeBron James didn’t have the panache of a champion," an honor that now ranks next to the pundit who predicted Mondale would defeat Reagan.

"There is something about the authenticity of the debate, the rawness, that draws sports enthusiasts and celebrities from all walks of life to want to debate him," Horowitz said (http://frontrow.espn.go.com/2011/12/first-take-now-featuring-more-great-debate-with-skip-and-the-gang/) of Bayless.

We couldn't agree more. On this day, Feb. 6, 2013, we are issuing a challenge to Horowitz and Bayless to join us on a SI-Deadspin podcast to debate everything about First Take and everything it represents. Honest debate. Open conversation. No limits. We will air the podcast unedited, so people can "embrace" the transparency of the show. First Take is welcome to use the audio on their podcast if they so choose. Same with ESPN PR for its website, the Front Row blog (http://frontrow.espn.go.com/), which is designed to provide visitors a "Front Row" seat to ESPN and its people.

So, Jamie, Skip? Wanna actually embrace debate? If so, debate us. We've got lots to say.

Sincerely,
Richard Deitsch, Sports Illustrated
John Koblin, Deadspin

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