Video of Stephen A. Smith explaining Tristan Thompson's heated exchange with LeBron James.
This week, roughly 100 much-publicized job cuts were announced at Disney-owned ESPN, the self-described “Worldwide Leader in Sports.” Since its founding in 1979, ESPN has defined the sports-on-cable television experience with its flagship highlight program SportsCenter, opinion shows like Pardon the Interruption, and endless live and recorded professional, college and high school sporting events on multiple channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, and ESPN Classic, to name a few. As the names of those whose contracts were not being renewed became known, a telling tide of opinion began to appear regarding who was fired and who was not.
Numerous victims of this downsizing were veteran reporters and analysts who had long careers at ESPN and will surely work in the field again. The focus of indignation about those being retained quickly centered on several people—Bomani Jones, Dan Le Batard, Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard, Jemele Hill, Michael Smith, and most of all, the notoriously animated Stephen A. Smith, controversial host of ESPN morning centerpiece opinion show First Take.
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