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Stephen A. Smith: I’m Only Going to Address Jason Whitlock Once

“He wanted my attention. He’s got it.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Stephen A. Smith
Courtesy: Julie Vennitti Botos, USA Today

After being a primary talking point for nearly a week on Jason Whitlock’s BlazeTV show Fearless, Stephen A. Smith finally responded in full on his podcast Wednesday.

Whitlock had called into question certain events from Smith’s 2023 memoir, Straight Shooter, particularly Stephen A.’s claim to being a high school basketball player and getting a basketball scholarship to Winston-Salem State University.

Smith prefaced on The Stephen A. Smith Show that fans of the podcast and fans of First Take on ESPN would see a different side of him when talking about Whitlock. Stephen A. had been referring to Whitlock as a fat bastard on social media and on ESPN.

“He’s a no-good individual,” Smith said. “Probably the worst individual I have ever had the displeasure of ever being associated with in any capacity.”

Stephen A. Smith also was preemptive before engaging in his response to Whitlock. He felt like he owed it to the people he loves and cares about and his employer.

“I even took the liberty of calling my pastor to apologize in advance for what I gonna say about that no-good bastard,” Smith said.

“I did the same when I emailed the bosses at ESPN. This is my podcast. I own and operate this. I do what I want on this podcast,” he continued. “But it doesn’t mean that I still don’t harbor a responsibility to at least give my daytime employers a heads up as to what I’m about to do.”

While Whitlock had been digging into Smith multiple times since last week, Stephen A. – who said he never talks bad about his colleagues publicly – was going to make an exception to address Whitlock.

“I’m only gonna do it once,” he said. “Because this bastard is worse, less than a damn cockroach. He wanted my attention. He’s got it.”

Stephen A. said since Whitlock has blown up every bridge he’s had prior to arriving at TheBlaze, talking bad about other people in the industry, especially other Black journalists, is how he’s managed to survive.

“That’s not real work,” Smith said. “Think about this for a second. I’m supposed to be covering sports, but I make a career talking about my colleagues. That ain’t work! That’s you finding some slick way to get a check, because you can’t get a job. That’s Jason Whitlock. That’s who the hell he is.”

Smith also cited a 2015 Deadspin article written about Whitlock that listed Stephen A. among big-name ESPN talents that refused to work with him when they were both at the network. Smith said that reputation followed Whitlock to other career stops, and Smith even has it in his contract that he will never work with Whitlock.

“You think I’m lying? Ask ESPN. Ask FOX,” Smith said. “Ask the Kansas City Star. Ask them all. Jemele Hill, Rob Parker, Chris Broussard, Skip Bayless, yours truly, along with a host of Black folks all over this country. Every single one of them will confirm what the hell I’m saying about this piece of garbage.”

Stephen A. Smith clarified that he wasn’t trying to take shots at The Blaze for hiring Whitlock, but he delivered a warning about embracing Whitlock.

“Be careful that you don’t get yourself stained in stench by Whitlock,” he said. “He can do that to you. He is the worst. He’s not ethical, he’s not moral.”

“He will lie, he will denigrate, and he will turn against anyone to serve his own good,” Smith added.

Stephen A. admitted at one point that he knew Whitlock was trying to bait him into retaliating in some fashion. But after this one time, he will go back to not mentioning Whitlock’s name.

“It will never happen again,” Smith said. “He’s irrelevant. He’s not important. He’s insignificant, and he knows it. And he did all of this to try and bait me into all of this stuff.”

“My point is I don’t care. And the reason I don’t care is because I’ve been holding it in for nearly 10 years,” he added. “So there comes a point and time where at the very least, at least one time, you have to address it. It’s necessary. It’s important.”

“He wants to talk about me, that’s fine. Ladies and gentlemen, he’d give anything to have my job. He’d give anything to have my resume.”

Stephen A. Smith also said at this point in his career, what good would it serve for him to just lie about playing basketball in high school and college, and why would it matter to someone like Whitlock?

“Look, I’m 56 years old. If yall think now that I’m successful in this business, that I gotta sit here and lie about me playing basketball in high school to write in my own damn memoir, at this point and time in my life I can’t help yall,” he said. “I’m not gonna waste my time with that silliness.”

“You are a great writer,” Smith later said of Whitlock. “Your mistake was you started talking and worse wanting to be seen while you were talking. Which is why your quality and your value plummeted. Because when we see you and we listen to you, we know how worthless you are.”

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Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit Featured As Commentary Team for ‘NCAA Football 25’

“I’m so excited to FINALLY announce that I’m part of @EASPORTSCollege
. I’m proud to be a partner and one of the voices of the game once again.”

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An image of Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler
Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

NCAA Football fans rejoice — NCAA Football 25 will feature ESPN’s Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit. Fowler will be making his first appearance in the game while Herbstreit will be doing it for the 14th time. The pair confirmed the news today via their X accounts:

The pair were finally able to reveal their involvement as more news came out about the game starting today. Multiple news items about the game were reported, including the participation of all 134 Division I football programs, and that college football players could opt into the game for NIL purposes. According to The Athletic’s Chris Vannini, players will receive $600 and a free copy of the game for opting in. Those who fail to opt in will be replaced by a generic avatar.

Following the initial news, Front Office Sports revealed more names attached to NCAA Football 25 — Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, Kevin Connors, and David Pollack. All but Pollack, who was laid off from the company in June, are ESPN employees.

The last NCAA Football game was released in 2013 and started the conversation of whether players should be paid for their participation. EA Sports then stopped putting out versions of the game, despite critical and commercial success. Fan projects like College Football Revamped strived to bring the game into modern times — but now it’s no longer needed. College Football 25 will be revealed in earnest this May, with a release date slated for the summer.

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Joy Taylor and Taylor Rooks to Launch New Podcast

“This show is a space for us to be honest about our experiences, our emotions, and the way we view the world.”

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Joy Taylor and Taylor Rooks podcast logo
Courtesy: Two Personal Podcast

Fox Sports 1’s Joy Taylor and Thursday Night Football’s Taylor Rooks are teaming up for a new podcast, Two Personal, which will debut on March 6. The description of the new content says it will take on subjects beyond the world of sports such as mental health, discrmination and other social issues. The two friends plan to share things they would normally talk about only in private.

“Joy [Taylor] and I have navigated our careers together as sisters in sport, but Two Personal allows us to expand and share our private thoughts and conversations with our listeners,” said Rooks. “This show is a space for us to be honest about our experiences, our emotions, and the way we view the world. There is infinitely more to us than what we have allowed the public to see, and I’m thrilled to be in a place where I feel ready to bare my full self and give an honest look into who I am completely.”

“I am so excited to launch Two Personal with Taylor [Rooks]” Joy Taylor said. “We have spent our careers in sports and now have created an opportunity to show a different side of ourselves. The authentic, raw and exposing side of our experiences and personalities outside of sports. We can’t wait to bring our girl talk to the world!”

The podcast is scheduled to drop a new episode each Wednesday on YouTube and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Report: Amazon Prime Video Paying $120M to Stream NFL Playoff Game

NBCU wanted to keep the game, however, the report says Amazon has a clause in its agreement for ‘Thursday Night Football’ which allows it to have first choice.

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Amazon Prime Video Logo

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Amazon and the NFL have reached agreement on a $120 million deal for Prime Video to have exclusive rights to stream an NFL playoff game at the end of the 2024 season.

Amazon had passed on the opportunity to air the game this past season. It subsequently aired on Peacock in a deal which was valued at $110 million. The AFC Wild Card round matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs made sports media history, garnering an average minute audience (AMA) of 23.0 million viewers, making the contest the most-streamed live event in the history of the United States.

NBCUniversal also revealed that the contest reached 27.6 million total viewers and peaked at an average of 24.6 million viewers during the second quarter. Engagement with the playoff game accounted for the largest internet event in history with 30% of internet traffic prioritizing the game at this time.

NBCU wanted to keep the game, however, the report says Amazon has a clause in its agreement for ‘Thursday Night Football’ which allows it to have first choice.

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