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Stephen A. Smith On Max Kellerman Split: ‘I’ve Been Proven to be Right’

“I think that First Take needed a fresh start, that has been proven. And I also predicted that he would be incredibly successful, which he has been.”

Jordan Bondurant

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It’s natural for some relationships to just run their course and things end amicably. That appeared to be the case for ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman on First Take.

Speaking to Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on Russo’s SiriusXM show Thursday, Stephen A. said things had gotten to the point where a change needed to be made.

“I was very honest about me saying that I thought the show needed the change,” Smith said (via Mediaite). “But what I also said to the bosses was, I think our time together has passed.”

He added while they’re not considered good friends, their relationship is on a level of mutual respect.

“I wouldn’t classify it as good or bad,” he said. “We don’t communicate, but we’re very respectful towards one another. We say hi to one another when we see each other, but we go our separate ways.”

Smith said it has always been funny to him that there are people out there who think Stephen A. has the power and authority to hire and fire co-hosts. He told Russo that management Smith works under will take his input into consideration.

“I’ve often laughed at that notion,” he said. “It’s not to say that I don’t have any influence, but by influence it means I have their ear.”

“But the final call is not mine,” he added. “I work for ESPN, it’s not the other way around.”

Smith said the decision for Kellerman to leave First Take was the correct move, because the show has gotten better and Kellerman hosts two shows a day, Keyshawn, JWill & Max on ESPN Radio and This Just In for TV.

“I think I’ve been proven to be right,” Smith said. “I think that First Take needed a fresh start, that has been proven. And I also predicted that he would be incredibly successful, which he has been.”

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Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handles Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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Sports TV News

St. Louis Cardinals Announcer Dan McLaughlin Charged With Third DWI

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

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Dan McLaughlin

St. Louis Cardinals television play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin has been charged with DWI after being arrested on Sunday in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police received at least two phone calls from concerned drivers that a white BMW was driving erratically, with one caller saying it was driving into oncoming traffic.

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

Bally Sports Midwest and the released a joint statement Monday.

“We have been made aware that Dan McLaughlin was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on Sunday night.. We are very disappointed to hear this, and are working to gather additional information before offering further comment.”

McLaughlin, 48, has served as the voice of the Cardinals for 24 years.

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Sports TV News

NFL Flex Scheduling Forces ESPN To Change Bowl Schedule

Jordan Bondurant

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The NFL flex scheduling an upcoming Las Vegas Radiers game out of Sunday Night Football on December 18 has forced ESPN to make a slight adjustment with its college bowl season schedule. But the change was something the worldwide leader was prepared to make.

The Raiders were originally scheduled to play the New England Patriots in the primetime window a week before Christmas, but with both teams losing ground in terms of the AFC playoff picture, NBC opted to go with a different game that night instead. Now fans will be tuning in to see the rematch between the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.

The shift out of the Sunday night window for the Raiders forced ESPN to swap kickoff times for the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl the day before on December 17. Florida and Oregon State will play in Vegas at 2:30 p.m. eastern, with BYU and SMU facing off in Albuquerque at 7:30 p.m.

The switch allows workers at Allegiant Stadium in Vegas enough time to switch the venue over from college bowl game to Raiders home game.

“We are accustomed to flexibility and we anticipated having to maneuver our event schedules based on the possibility of the Raiders game being flexed,” said ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby.

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