Stephen A. Smith on His $3.5M Contract Not Being The Reason ESPN Fired a Bunch of People

Stephen A. Smith Women's World Cup comments

On Wednesday and Thursday, ESPN officially began dropping the hammer and giving a bunch of on-air personalities their walking papers, including Ed Werder, Trent Dilfer, and many others.

Former Sports Illustrated writer and best-selling author Jeff Pearlman seems to believe one man and one man only is the sole reason for so many losing their jobs, all while keeping his.  And that’s Stephen A. Smith.

Pearlman took to Twitter and blasted Stephen A. Smith’s employment in the face of layoffs, claiming it’s “an assault on the profession.”


As you knew he would, Stephen A. responded to those comments by Pearlman on his radio show:

“Smith then ran through his professional résumé—he said he worked internships at a number of newspapers in and around North Carolina during his college years at Winston-Salem State University before spending his early years as a journalist working at the New York Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer, where he became one of just 21 African-American columnists in the country—before asking Pearlman and others to take a look at what he did to get to where he is today before criticizing him.

“I came up in this industry at a time where you had to be a journalist,” he said. “You had to break stories. You had to break news to elevate your career, to get to a certain point and a certain level in this business, before you even had the license to give your opinion, especially if you were a black man.”

“We want to talk credentials?” he asked. “Name the time and place and I’ll show up. Tell me what level I didn’t work on. I worked as an intern. I worked at a high school. I worked at a college newspaper while I was taking 18 credits while on the basketball team. I climbed up this business. I’m an outspoken, loud ass mouth, black man. Who the hell do you think gave me an opportunity? I’m sorry, sir, this was earned, and every damn penny that I earned, that I have been blessed to have received in my career, I have earned.”

“What the Pearlmans and the others of the world want to do is take a loudmouth black person and act like I’m just a loudmouth,” he said. “They want to ignore the credentials. They want to ignore the fact that I worked my way up to this point, that nothing was given to me, that my résumé in the business of sports journalism is comparable to anybody’s. You got people out here in this day and age that call themselves reporters and ain’t broke a damn story in years. I’ve broken more stories in one year than most people in our business have broken in their careers. But we don’t talk about that… We don’t want to talk about that, because when it comes to certain folks that we choose not to like, we want to act like they don’t have credentials.”

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