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Fred Toucher: Stephen A. Smith is in TV Prison

“He’s basically in a television prison all day. He’s not allowed out.”

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Stephen A. Smith - Courtesy: Lachlan Cunningham, Getty Images | Fred Toucher - Courtesy: Nancy Lane, MediaNews Group, Boston Herald via Getty Images

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson overshadowed part of the NBA Finals action Wednesday after it was announced that he and his girlfriend Ahkeema were expecting a baby girl. Yet a string of tweets from OnlyFans model Moriah Mills have shifted the discussion, suggesting they had seen one another at a point without Mills knowing about Williamson having another relationship. Basketball fans across social media bombarded Williamson after the revelation became public, and it was a topic of discussion on coverage of the league throughout the ensuing days. On the latest edition of the eponymously named The Stephen A. Smith Show, Stephen A. Smith spoke about Williamson and surmised that he had figured out why Williamson only played 29 games during this past season.

“I’ve been waiting for the leg to heal Zion,” Smith said. “….New Orleans has been waiting for a while. I mean, we’ve been waiting, man. No wonder you ain’t healthy; I’m talking about your legs. I’m just saying, man. What I’m concerned about is we need those legs spry, but you can’t get healthy. Your lower extremities were compromised.”

Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb of 98.5 The Sports Hub never thought that one of their morning show’s newest segments – titled “Stephen A. Smith is horny” – would take place more than once over a six-week span. Yet it has quickly become a hit, with show listeners messaging Shertenlieb on social media whenever they see a clip that could fit the comedic bit. Because of the situation regarding Williamson and Smith’s reaction to it, which was filled with caesura and vocal intonation, the segment made its third appearance in the past two weeks on Thursday morning.

“ESPN is committed to just basically featuring two people – Mike Greenberg and Stephen A. Smith,” Toucher said. “If there’s a third I forget it – oh yeah, they’re bringing in… Pat McAfee. So there’ll be three people that are doing all of it.”

Toucher has concluded that Smith has a live microphone in front of him at all times, with ESPN recognizing his appeal to its consumers. After all, Smith is a featured commentator on First Take, works on NBA Countdown, hosts an alternate game telecast for select NBA matchups and podcasts at least three times a week.

“He’s basically in a television prison all day,” Toucher said of Smith. “He’s not allowed out. He is a man after all – he’s not old. I’d imagine he’s around 50; that doesn’t mean he’s dead.”

Smith, 55, was mocked throughout the latest edition of the segment for his breaths and phrasing, filled with both hosts doing impressions of him. It even resulted in a production person creating a soundboard where the show quickly replayed soundbites from Smith’s statements on Williamson. Eventually, the show put it to the tune of “Mah Na Mah Na,” a song made famous by The Muppets, leading to unrestrained, mirthful laughter from those in the studio.

“Stephen A. Smith turns into Christopher Lloyd and Roger Rabbit when he’s horny,” Shertenlieb said, referring to Smith’s fluctuating vocal range.

“He’s in that TV prison horny as hell,” Toucher added.

As the segment concluded, Toucher wondered if Smith would ever be allowed off of the ESPN airwaves for a day, as he seems to always be part of the network’s subconscious. Smith is reportedly paid $8 million annually by ESPN and is perceived as someone untouchable as The Walt Disney Company nears its conclusion of laying off 7,000 employees. Pat McAfee is set to join the network this fall in a multiyear, multi-million dollar agreement, and will host The Pat McAfee Show afternoons on ESPN’s linear channel and on various digital platforms.

“It’s without fail now – at least once a week, he gets horny,” Shertenlieb expressed.

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Howard Eskin: Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce Dating Rumors Are ‘All A Little Game’

“The producer of their podcast will say, ‘Hey, let’s play this up; it’s great for the podcast.'”

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Howard Eskin
Courtesy: Gilbert Carrasquillo, Getty Images

Whenever Taylor Swift performs a concert or goes out, there is generally a swarm of paparazzi that surrounds her. As one of the preeminent superstars in the world of music, there is considerable public interest in her life and upcoming projects. For years, fans of the artist have followed her dating life, which has included boyfriends such as Joe Jonas, John Mayer and Harry Styles.

Recently, many people are starting to believe that she could be dating Kansas City Chiefs star tight end and two-time Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce. In an appearance on Thursday’s edition of The Pat McAfee Show, Kelce was asked about the rumors and relayed that he invited her to a Chiefs game to watch him play.

“I’ve seen you rock the stage in Arrowhead [Stadium],” Kelce said his message read. “You might have to come see me rock the stage at Arrowhead and see which one is a little more lit.”

Although Howard Eskin’s guest appearance on SportsRadio 94WIP took place before Kelce’s public comments, he diffused the dating rumors by recounting the situation that started the ensuing chain of events. Kelce attended Swift’s concert at Arrowhead Stadium and tried to pass along a friendship bracelet with his phone number on it to the multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning artist. Since then, reports from The Messenger have indicated that Kelce and Swift have conversed and hung out several times. Additionally, Swift reportedly thinks that Kelce is “very charming,” and the duo is “seeing where things go.”

“She’s in Kansas City – he’s Travis Kelce,” Eskin said. “There’s people there, I’m sure, that handed her a number and she said, ‘Who is this?’ I would bet – yes – she doesn’t follow football.”

Amid his statement, Eskin was reminded that Swift is a Philadelphia Eagles fan, something she revealed at Lincoln Financial Field on her acclaimed slate of shows within “The Eras Tour.” The sports radio luminary then shared that Swift wore his Super Bowl LII ring after the team won the championship in 2018 and that he was invited to the premiere of the tour movie on Oct. 13 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Reacting to comments made by Philadelphia Eagles’ center Jason Kelce during in an interview with McAfee on Wednesday, he believes the disclosure of the dating rumors are helping fuel increased notoriety. Each week, the Kelce brothers record and release episodes of their podcast, New Heights, with Wave Sports + Entertainment, and Eskin thinks that reacting to the reports could equate to a simple publicity stunt.

“The producer of their podcast will say, ‘Hey, let’s play this up; it’s great for the podcast,’” Eskin said. “It’s all a little game. Entertainment Tonight did a story on Taylor Swift and her former boyfriend who was married to somebody else, and they played this small clip of the audio and said nothing because there is nothing to report other than Jason Kelce said, ‘I think it’s 100% true.’”

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Steak Shapiro: Chris Russo’s Gummy Comment an ‘All-Time TV Moment’

“I’m going to tell you, jaws dropped, folks high-fived me and you’re just like, ‘did that just happen?’”

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Steak Shapiro
Courtesy: Atlanta Eats

Steak Shapiro told his audience that he has been in the media business for a long time. What he saw on First Take on Wednesday was “one of the all-time TV moments that I have ever seen.”

That moment was Chris Russo’s admission that he will eat a THC gummy, drink a cocktail in the middle of the day and bet $10,000 on Coach Prime and the Colorado Buffaloes to beat Oregon on Saturday.

“I’m going to tell you, jaws dropped, folks high-fived me and you’re just like, ‘did that just happen?’” He said Thursday morning on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta.

He joked that promoting get drunk, betting thousands of dollars and taking drugs should be proof to critics that “ESPN ain’t that woke.”

Drew Butler, Shapiro’s co-host for the Thursday edition of The Steakhouse, said that what caught most people’s attention was the facial expressions and reactions of NFL analyst Marcus Spears. 

He added that he was shocked to see something like that on ESPN, who just went through some very public layoffs which have drawn real criticism.

“They take a lot of heat for having to be righteous, politically correct, kind of milquetoast at times,” Shapiro agreed. “Listen, I don’t know that they’re related.”

He added that it would be different if Russo had said that he was going to roll a joint a get high. He said the afternoon that was described though is something that isn’t just unobjectionable to many, it is probably very appealing to a lot of people.

“Any women listening now may envision your husband just like this and any dude listening right now? Again, there’s plenty of guys that’ll wake up and run a marathon, right? Or just go hike for 4 hours. And that’s great, too,” he said. “But then there are other guys that want this out of their Saturday.”

“There’s certain entertainment in listening to a man who simply has nothing to lose,” Butler concluded.

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Noah Eagle: I Don’t Know if Notre Dame Fans Expect Homer Call From NBC Crew

“I will be Neutral Noah, and that is the case throughout the year, no matter who we’re doing.”

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Noah Eagle
Courtesy: Stroll Magazine

This is the first year in a long time that Notre Dame fans have had to share NBC with other college football teams. The network is carrying Big Ten games every Saturday night. The two worlds collide this week when Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge call the Fighting Irish’s visit to Ohio State.

“Do Notre Dame fans understand that this is not going to be a homer broadcast this week and that Tom Hammond, Dick Enberg, Dan Hicks, Don Criqui, they’re not walking through that door?” Anthony Lima asked Eagle Thursday morning on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland.

Eagle said it is a question that could best be answered by Notre Dame fans, but he is a professional. Last week, he and Blackledge called Purdue vs. Syracuse, which is Eagle’s alma mater.

“I will be, as I said last week, when I got to call my alma mater, I will be Neutral Noah, and that is the case throughout the year, no matter who we’re doing,” he said.

He added that he isn’t really sure what it is Notre Dame fans expect from the broadcast on Saturday night. The Big Ten is now just as much a part of NBC’s sports portfolio as Fighting Irish football. He added that his only agenda is capturing the excitement of two top-ten teams facing off in an historic venue.

“I would quote the wonderful and amazingly talented Biggie Smalls that ‘if you don’t know, now you know,” Eagle said. “It’s going to be a neutral game. It’s going to be a neutral call. I mean, this is big time Saturday night.”

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