Michael Smith is still a “SportsCenter” host … for now. The ESPN personality may not last much longer in that role after he blasted the company for its mishandling of the program.
Specifically, Smith is upset about ESPN trying to alter how he and former co-anchor Jemele Hill believed their version of “SportsCenter” should run.
Smith appeared on James Andrew Miller’s podcast, and did not hold back when asked about the show.
“There was a time we weren’t even talking to each other [on air] anymore,” Smith said. “Like no more Michael and Jemele, not less, not here and there. No more Michael and Jemele talking. No more of their commentary. It’s just strictly live shots and analysts. That’s what pissed me off so much.
“I’m like, so wait a second, you all acknowledge that one of the strengths that we have going for us as a show is Michael and Jemele’s chemistry, but Michael and Jemele don’t [expletive] talk to each other? How does that make sense?”
James Andrew Miller wrote “Those Guys Have All the Fun,” which gave an inside look at the triumphs and scandals at ESPN.
Smith later explained that he and Hill knew there would be pushback to the way they wanted to do things, but said the two did not fight. They backed down, and ESPN “got what they wanted,” according to Smith, “Which was Michael and Jemele being muted.” He added that it “frustrated the [expletive] out of us.”
Hill asked to leave the program in January to join ESPN’s The Undefeated. During her time as “SportsCenter” co-anchor, Hill got in hot water with the company after calling Donald Trump a white supremacist and suggesting people should boycott sponsors of the Dallas Cowboys to send a message to Jerry Jones. ESPN suspended Hill for both those tweets.
A similar punishment could be in the works for Smith after his comments. He not only criticized the company, but used some pretty strong language in doing so. You can’t imagine ESPN will be too happy about that.
(The Turnstile H/N: Sports Illustrated)
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