Sports analyst Stephen A. Smith had some harsh words for his former co-worker Max Kellerman and recalled how he was the reason First Take removed Kellerman from the show during an interview Thursday.
Smith dished on the issue during his appearance on The Joe Budden Podcast. Budden asked what Smith would say to fans who saw tension between Smith and Kellerman prior to Kellerman’s departure from ESPN’s First Take back in September 2021. Smith recalled he had heard some of those remarks by fans and then broke into some harsh words about Kellerman.
“I didn’t like working with him. It’s just that damn simple. I didn’t like it. I thought the show was stale. I thought that we had flatlined when it came to the public at large,” Smith said. (RELATED: Pat McAfee’s Interview With Nick Saban Shows Why He’s Such A Legendary, Successful Coach)
“You weren’t an athlete, and you weren’t a journalist. And the absence of the two components left people wondering ‘why should we listen to you?'” Smith said of Kellerman.
Smith also recalled how he was the reason First Take removed Kellerman.
“When I went upstairs to management, my exact words were, ‘If he’s that important to you, then give him First Take. I’ll leave,'” Smith said. “Two hours later, I got the call we were making a change.”
Smith emphasized his decision to approach the higher ups was purely motivated by business rather than personal grievances.
This was not the first time Smith talked about his dislike working alongside Kellerman.
“The rumors are accurate in terms of me wanting him off the show,” Smith said in September 2021, according to Awful Announcing. “It wasn’t really about asking him to be off the show. It was about the fact that I knew that we, together, as far as I was concerned, were not a great partnership anymore and that was something that needed to change.”