ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith didn’t hold back in expressing his honest feelings on working alongside former “First Take” co-host Max Kellerman.
The 50-year-old Kellerman worked with Smith on “First Take” from 2016 to 2021. He took over as the co-host of the show after Skip Bayless left ESPN to join FS1’s “Undisputed” program, which he still hosts.
On June 30, Kellerman was among the Worldwide Leader in Sports’ most notable layoffs. Fast forward two and a half months later, and Smith decided to reveal his honest feelings in working alongside Kellerman:
During an appearance on “The Joe Budden Podcast” (h/t Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated), Smith admitted that he didn’t enjoy working alongside Kellerman:
“I would take full responsibility for that. It was totally my fault and the reason it was my fault is because I didn’t like working with him. It’s just that damn simple. I didn’t like it. I thought the show was stale. I thought that we had flatlined when it came to the public at large. I didn’t want to go from No. 1 to No. 2. when Skip left. I wasn’t having that. That s**t wasn’t gonna happen…
It was like I was damn near doing the show by myself because we were oceans apart in terms of cache. Well, how are you oceans apart from me if you’re sitting across from me for five days a week for the whole two hours? Because one of us is resonating and one of us is not in that platform.
“And so for me, I was like. look, this is what it is. and we had a number of conversations, one-on-one many many times. I know this audience, I know what they need, etc, etc. At some point, you’re gonna do what you need to do or you don’t, and if you don’t do what you need to do, I’m gonna get somebody who will. That’s me. I made no qualms about it.”
Smith added that though they “weren’t enemies”, the two simply haven’t talked since Kellerman was let go by ESPN. Smith added that it wasn’t Kellerman’s fault, but rather a case of the two simply not working well together.
Back in February, Disney CEO Bob Iger warned that the company would be cutting 7,000 jobs with the goal of saving about $5.5 billion in costs. Kellerman was one of the network’s most notable layoffs, along with the likes of Suzy Kolber, Jalen Rose, Steve Young, Matt Hasselbeck, Todd McShay, Keyshawn Johnson and Jeff Van Gundy.
While Smith continues to host the “First Take” program at ESPN, Kellerman remains a free agent. Johnson was recently announced as a new member for the lineup of “First Take”.
WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.