In the world of sports journalism, where fierce debates and passionate opinions reign supreme, one name that stands out prominently is Stephen A. Smith. Known for his articulate arguments and unapologetic delivery, Stephen A. Smith has become a household name in the realm of sports commentary. But beyond the hot takes and the lively debates, there’s a side to Stephen A. that deserves recognition and appreciation—a side that was beautifully exemplified when he extended his hand of friendship to Skip Bayless.
The story of Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless is one that has captivated the sports world for years. Their fiery debates and contrasting opinions on ESPN’s First Take became must-watch television for sports enthusiasts. They were like the Batman and the Joker of sports talk, and fans loved every minute of it. However, their professional journey took an unexpected turn when Skip Bayless decided to part ways with ESPN and join FOX Sports in 2016.
Fast forward to a few years later, and Stephen A. Smith, who had continued to thrive on First Take, took a moment to reflect on his friend’s departure. In a heartfelt statement, Stephen A. expressed his genuine concern for Skip Bayless, emphasizing that what had happened to him was not fair. It was a moment of vulnerability from a man known for his unyielding confidence.
“Listen, I got a lot of friends over there, alright, we all know that,” Smith said. “I know a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean what happened to you is fair. Plain and simple. That ain’t the end of the world, but it is what it is. To me, it was just important for us in this industry to stand up and say, ‘yo, he’s one of us, you can’t let him go out like this.’ And that was it for me. You can go wherever you want, you can come to First Take, fine. You want to go somewhere else, fine.”
These words resonated not just with Skip Bayless but with fans and colleagues alike. They showcased Stephen A. Smith’s loyalty, empathy, and a sense of responsibility towards his fellow sports commentators. It wasn’t just about the debates and the ratings; it was about standing up for a friend and a colleague in a moment of need.
Smith continued, “I told you this and I’ll tell the audience that I told you this. I said you might be at First Take for one year, you might be at First Take for years to come. It’s my responsibility—and I’m dead serious as a heart attack—to make sure that you are more successful with me than you were before you arrived. I’m going to make sure it happens, come hell or high water. We ain’t going down, brother, we only going up.”
These words not only revealed Stephen A. Smith’s determination to succeed but also his commitment to helping others succeed along with him. In an industry that can sometimes be cutthroat and competitive, Stephen A.’s willingness to support his peers is truly commendable.
Furthermore, Stephen A. didn’t want anyone to question Skip Bayless’s departure. He wanted the sports world to know that Skip Bayless was wanted and valued. “I didn’t want you to be in the situation where the sports world looked at you and said, ‘what did he do? He must have done something.’ I said if he ends up here, he ends up here. The honchos know I want him. More importantly than that, this is a brother that I think has done a lot of good work on television that has helped our community. As a result, it’s incumbent upon me because of the perch I sit on to let them know he’s wanted,” Smith told Sharpe.
In an industry that often thrives on controversy and sensationalism, Stephen A. Smith’s gesture of extending a hand of friendship to Skip Bayless reminds us of the importance of unity and support among colleagues. It highlights the fact that, beyond the heated debates and opposing viewpoints, there is a genuine camaraderie among those who share a passion for sports and sports journalism.
So, let’s take a moment to appreciate Stephen A. Smith for not just his fiery commentary but also for his compassion and loyalty towards his fellow sports commentators. In a world where it’s easy to get caught up in the competition, Stephen A. shows us that there’s always room to give your colleague their well-deserved “flowers” and stand up for what’s right, even when the cameras are off.