If you're reading this then you're probably someone who watches the talking heads on ESPN be a ton more wrong than they are right on a regular basis and yet somehow still keep their jobs. Personally, we stopped watching ESPN a few months ago after the channel was more concerned about being PR people for the athletes than actually giving middle-of-the-road reporting and commentary. We understand why ESPN made the shift. Because in 2021, an athlete can easily bypass ESPN and still make a name for themselves if they have strong online news and social media game. So ESPN became "Excusing Sports Personalities Non-stop" and hey, good for them if it's working. My biggest issue besides the constant fawning is also this practice of always trying to get fans to root for the athletes and curse the owners, berating them when they feel like fans "don't appreciate what athletes go through." My response? Don't ask people who just want to watch a decent f***ing game at the end of a s****y day to have to choose sides between multi-millionaires and multi-billionaires- especially when neither side really gives a flying piece of frog s**t about the fans. So were we surprised to learn that ESPN First Take host Stephen A. Smith admitted to being a part of the process that led to his co-host Max Kellerman being removed from the show? Nope. Because as ESPN has become the sports monolith that it's become, it's also become a little too much about the talking heads on our screens and less about the sports that all of this is supposed to be about.
Checking in virtually with Hot 97 radio's Ebro Darden and Peter Rosenberg, Smith approached the topic directly and didn't mince words, saying, "The rumor's accurate in terms of me wanting him off the show," Smith said of his views of Kellerman. Smith added that it "was not a great partnership anymore and that was something that needed to change." Smith doesn't apologize for the move and explains that there was no malice behind it. It was more about recognizing what wasn't working and making the change needed.
"It wasn't really about asking him to be off the show, it was about the fact that I knew that we, together, as far as I was concerned, was not a great partnership anymore and that was something that needed to change. The reason why I'm unapologetic about my position, No. 1, is that it's no knock against him professionally, his work ethic, and all of that other stuff, his talent. It's not like I wanted the guy to be fired. I knew there were landing spots for him available at this network that would generate just as much, if not more revenue for him and all of that other stuff," Smith explained. And though it was eventually ESPN's decision, Smith did offer his opinion that the team-up was no longer working. Kellerman's new show This Just In is set to premiere on September 14, at 2 pm ET, with the host also now a part of ESPN's morning radio show Keyshawn, J-Will and Zubin show (replacing Zubin). On First Take, Smith will partner with a rotating cast of ESPN personalities (with Tim Tebow and Michael Irvin anchoring the week).