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Skip Bayless says 2003 rape accusation gave Kobe Bryant 'sizzle'

Skip Bayless comments on Kobe Bryant

Skip Bayless has made a career of provocative statements on ESPN's "First Take," but on Monday's show, he went further than usual, sparking angry and shocked reactions that carried into Tuesday.

Bayless suggested that the rape accusation against Kobe Bryant by a 19-year-old hotel worker in Colorado in 2003 helped him become a more attractive figure for marketers.

(The criminal case was dropped in 2004 and a civil case was settled out of court.)

"Remember Kobe pre-Eagle, Colorado?" Bayless said. "He failed in his first sneaker deal because he was just too clean-cut and I think it was adidas that had him first, correct me if I'm wrong, but he couldn't sell sneakers because he didn't have enough edge.

"But then post-Eagle, Colorado, it brought a little attention to him. It gave him a little bit of sizzle."

Bayless paused before saying the word "sizzle," seeming to sense it might be controversial.

Host Cari Champion seemed taken aback by Bayless' comment, then said, "All right, we'll leave it there," then moved on to another subject.

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