Stephen A. Smith: ‘We Did Get To A Point Over The Years At ESPN Where It Was Too Much Politics’

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Stephen A. Smith is one of the biggest personalities in sports media and has become the highest paid employee at ESPN making a whopping $12 million per year.

Some people hate him, others love him, but there’s no denying he’s always polarizing.

Smith recently joined Pat McAfee’s podcast to promote his “Know Mercy” podcast, which is completely owned by him and not affiliated with ESPN in any way.

The “First Take” host says having his own platform allows him to discuss issues outside of sports — and even politics — but noted that ESPN should be reserved for fans who are coming to the network for coverage and analysis of their favorite teams.

Anyone who has tuned into the “World Wide Leader” over the last decade noticed a significant shift where it felt like almost every host felt a need to interject their opinion on politics. Eventually ratings began to drop and fans flocked to other networks for their sports coverage.

Stephen A. Smith Admits ESPN Got Way Too Political

Smith said Jimmy Pitaro, who took over as ESPN President in 2018, made a concerted effort to make the focal point sports again.

“When Jimmy Pitaro came on board, he made a concerted effort for us not to get into politics,” Smith said. “

I stood up and supported him for that and I still do because we did get to a point over the years at ESPN where it was too much politics. It was the politicization of too many different things and the sports fan got to a point where they were sending a message that they didn’t feel like their needs were being met.”

Smith believes it’s important to give the sports fan what they’re tuning in to ESPN for, but he also supports employees having the freedom to speak about politics and social issues on other outlets, hence the creation of his independent podcast.

While it’s clear ESPN hasn’t fully backed off political takes, it’s refreshing to hear their top personality acknowledge their woke approach…because everyone in America noticed and many will never tune into the network ever again.

Still, it’s refreshing to hear Stephen A. Smith acknowledge the obvious.

Written by Sean Labar

Lifelong die-hard DC fan (all four teams). College football and the NFL are my biggest passions but I love writing & discussing all sports. Live in Virginia with my two rescue pups Wally & Reagan. Follow me on Twitter @SeanLabarPR


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  1. It is beyond insane for him to suggest 2018 was when they started trying *tone down* the politics. If anything, it took a sharp upwards turn around then and hasn’t slowed down one bit. Crazy to think otherwise.

  2. Pitaro has come in and wanted to tone down the politics? That’s hilarious. Those low IQ anti White racists are still going strong at that POS network. And that Screamin M’fer is just as bigoted and racist as the rest of those tools. I don’t watch unless it’s a live college football game.

  3. SAS has created a comic on-air persona much like “DickieV” that is over-the-top and easily irritating. Like DV everyone had an opinion about SAS.
    That said … he is wrong as to Pitaro dialing back the politics . One dials back the politics at ESPN by firing Bomani Jones and Mark Jones and 2-3 of their Angry Lesbians … until that happens the ratings will keep plummeting ….

  4. Pitaro isn`t as bad as John Skipper (who is the one who REALLY started this mess), but there`s still plenty of woke going on under his watch. (i.e. The angry lesbians of the WNBA bitching about Roe v Wade last summer, Brittney Grimes, etc). They`re still taking the knee over there. I rarely watch anything there if it`s not a game.

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