Retired NFL quarterback Troy Aikman is furious that Fox Sports has hired the man who claimed two decades ago that Aikman is gay.
Then a Dallas Morning News columnist, Bayless made the claim in the book Hell Bent and the football great has been dogged by gay rumors ever since.
Bayless will now appear on the same network that Aikman has worked at for 15 years.
‘To say I’m disappointed in the hiring of Skip Bayless would be an enormous understatement,’ Aikman told Sports Illustrated. ‘Clearly, [Fox Sports president of national networks] Jamie Horowitz and I have a difference of opinion when it comes to building a successful organization. I believe success is achieved by acquiring and developing talented, respected and credible individuals, none of which applies to Skip Bayless.’
In an interview last year with SI, Aikman reiterated that he is not gay and said of the persistent rumors: ‘It is ridiculous, and, yeah, it bothers me. If that is a lifestyle people choose, so be it. It doesn’t affect me one way or another. But it is not my lifestyle.’
Aikman, now 49, played for twelve consecutive seasons as quarterback with the Cowboys before retiring in 2001.
During his career, Aikman was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and led his team to three Super Bowl victories. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
Aikman joined Fox Sports as a color commentator after his retirement and within a year was named part of the network’s lead announcing crew.
He was married to former Dallas Cowboys publicist Rhonda Worthey for 11 years before they were divorced in 2011. They have two daughters.