Stephen A. Smith speaks about the layoffs at ESPN that resulted in around 20 on-air personalities at the sports network being fired.
“ESPN fired around 20 of its on-air talents… friends of mine actually definitely respected colleagues who did a phenomenal job and deserved better,” the sports analyst continued The Stephen A Smith Show. “It’s not Disney or ESPN they deserve better than they deserve better than the times we live in.”
Smith, who is co-host First take Jalen praised Rose on ESPN, saying he’s “done an excellent job for us covering the NBA over the years.”
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“I have great love for this brother,” he added. “A lot of the great work he’s done over the years, what he represents for the company… I’ll miss him. Jalen Rose has always been good to me and I loved working with him on NBA Countdown. He’s a brilliant basketball player, he’s someone who’s been working his ass off the whole time. There was never a job he shied away from, there was never a time when he didn’t want to work.”
Smith also credited former NBA coach and ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy by name, saying, “Jeff was an outstanding, brilliant basketball analyst for ESPN for years.” I could say I’ll miss him, but I just can’t imagine that he will be unemployed for a long time. I’m sure I’ll see him on the air doing his thing. He was a Hall of Fame analyst and commentator.”
While mentioning his colleagues, Smith also said these wouldn’t be the only layoffs at ESPN.
“If we want to be honest, we have to face reality. This is not the end, there is more to come,” he said. “And yes, ladies and gentlemen, I could be next.”
Other figures released from ESPN duties included Max Kellerman, Keyshawn Johnson, Matt Hasselbeck, Chris Chelios, Steve Young, Rob Ninkovich, Neil Everett, Ashley Brewer, Joon Lee, LaPhonso Ellis, Todd McShay and Jason Fitz .
Watch Smith address the ESPN layoffs in the video posted below.