Stephen A. Smith is reiterating the point he made to Dan Le Batard on Friday: You’re not innocent, either.
Le Batard set off a firestorm heading into the weekend when he said “I hate what you two have done to sports television” to the ESPN talking head, referring to Smith and Skip Bayless. It’s an opinion that is held by many, but Le Batard might not be the best messenger for it.
He was a sports television personality at ESPN, hosting “Highly Questionable,” among other things up until leaving the network in 2021 and starting Meadowlark Media. His approach to offering up takes might be a little different than Smith's or Bayless', but he still is a sports talking head.
On his “Know Mercy” podcast, Smith called out Le Batard for that.
“It is amazing to me how people will speak as if I’ve had a negative impact on an industry they profit off of," Smith said. "Dan Le Batard wrote at the Miami Herald for 26 years. 1990-2016. Ask Dan Le Batard how much money he made writing for the Miami Herald compared to how much money he made on ESPN. How much money he made doing Highly Questionable, how much money he made doing the Dan Le Batard Show, how much money he is making doing South Street Sessions.
“It’s amazing to me how ‘Oh my lord, the impact Stephen A. had on this industry – oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.’ Really? Really? And what impact would that be? People trying to be loud? People trying to be bombastic? That’s all y'all got? That’s it? We’re just going to ignore everything that happened prior to that?
Smith then listed his professional background prior to ESPN, which was almost entirely in newspapers – beginning with years covering high school sports.
Ultimately, there is a legitimate argument to be made that those shows have led to a rise in bad faith and all-or-nothing sports arguments that are devoid of any nuance. Bayless is a bigger offender of that than Smith, though, and Smith’s overarching point is correct: Le Batard has greatly benefited from that industry.
Smith made clear before tearing into Le Batard that he considers him a friend and that it will remain that way. Still, Smith clearly is miffed by Le Batard's take.
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