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EXCLUSIVE: Stephen A. Smith Stripped Of Column


UPDATE: The Philadelphia Inquirer confirms our story.


Inquirer sports columnist Stephen A. Smith has been stripped of his column and has been offered a job as a general assignment reporter in the Inquirer’s sports department, according to sources inside both the Inquirer and the Daily News. Things reportedly came to a head during a meeting last Friday, when Smith was told of his re-assignment. Smith reportedly told his bosses he would give them an answer when he gets back from vacation in two weeks.

In the wake of painful lay-offs and general belt-tightening, Inquirer Editor-in-Chief Bill Marimow has been taking a hard look at columnists. Gail Shister�s TV News column was the first casualty of this re-think. (FYI, Shister has a fine front page piece in today’s paper that has nothing to do with television news and not a single quote from a network anchorman.)

Sources believe Smiths column has been in the cross-hairs for some time. “There was a time when the powersstephen-a-smithtweaked.jpg that be were just happy to have somebody that’s on ESPN on the masthead,” says a source who spoke on condition of anonymity. “But I think the new leadership has been asking itself for a while now whether or not the columns [he] was turning in were justifying his [reportedly generous] salary. And I think they decided he wasn’t bringing his A-game.”

As per his commitments to ESPN, Smith spends two hours a day in a New York studio doing a live call-in show for ESPN Radio, and he is concurrently on-assignment for ESPN TV which often requires him to be in the sports network’s Connecticut studios.

As a result, he rarely has boots on the ground in Philadelphia and some say that leads to embarrassing gaffes like an April 4 2007 column accusing Phils General Manager Pat Gillick of trying to run the Phils from his home in Toronto, even though Gillick — who used to GM the Toronto Bluejays — had long since sold off his Toronto digs.

“It’s the kind of thing where if you actually spent some time around the Phillies you would know,” says another source. “Besides, Smith is the last guy that should be accusing somebody of phoning it in from outside Philly.” That column resulted in a mea culpa follow-up, and it wouldn’t be the only one. There was the Sunday August 12th column that had the Phillies losing to Atlanta 5-4 the previous Friday when in fact the Phils beat Atlanta 5-4. This is what happens when you do all your reporting via Blackberry, say naysayers.

Just last week Smith took commissioner Bud Selig to task for not being present when Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record,* which prompted a wishy-washy Bud�s OK If You Like That Kinda Thing follow-up column. In describing Bonds’ detractors, Smith unintentionally echoed what his detractors often say about him:

People will label him an acerbic superstar allergic to humility, more interested in personal agendas than success for his team and the game itself.

All calls to the Inquirer sports desk about the matter are being referred to Inquirer Editor-in-Chief Bill Marimow. When reached by Phawker moments ago, Marimow declined to comment. Asked to confirm or deny that Smith had been stripped of his column, Marimow simply said, “I have nothing to say about that.” The Newspaper Guild’s Bill Ross said he would have no comment on the matter at the present time. An email to Smith requesting comment had not been returned by press time.
RELATED: Stephen A. Smith Must…Retire

*Ironically, the commissioner missed the record-breaking game because he was meeting with George Mitchell back east to discuss the former senator’s lengthy investigation into steroid abuse in pro baseball.

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45 Responses to “EXCLUSIVE: Stephen A. Smith Stripped Of Column”

  1. tim Says:

    Just an FYI — Pat Gillick was _general manager_, not manager, of the Jays and the Phils. The manager is the old guy in a uniform sitting in the dugout; the GM is the old guy in a suit sitting in the skybox.

    [Duly noted and corrected. Thanks for the heads-up, gentlemen. –The Ed.]

  2. Phil Sbubano Says:

    NOTE: Pat Gillick never managed the Toronto Blue Jays. He was their general manager.

  3. Dan Bailey Says:

    Ummm … Smith is a dope, but you guys should be aware that Pat Gillick is no more the manager of the Phillies than I am. He is, however, general manager. He’s never been a manager.

    It’s sort of like the difference between being a newspaper publisher & its ME.

  4. Dre Says:

    You are a clown, you cant even write a post with mistakes, but you want to talk about Stephen A. Smith, and his writing mistakes. Perfect

    [Andre, I think you meant to say: “You are a clown, you can’t can’t even write a post with[out] mistakes, but you want to talk about Stephen A. Smith [comma unnecessary] and the mistakes in his [reporting]. Perfect[.]” — The Ed.]

  5. Pat Carrigan Says:

    Thank you.
    Now get him off ESPN.
    The guy is the definition annoying.
    Everything has some kind of racist overtone.
    Everything has to be dramatized.
    He is a Rome want to be and aint gonna be.
    Everytime ESPN has him on I turn it.
    The guy is so full of himself its funny.
    He tries to be the controversy.
    Thank you. Now just fire the guy.

  6. Ann Says:

    Gillick wears Hawaiian shirts, not suits, right?

  7. dan Says:

    worst writer i’ve ever had the misfortune to read.

    he kept 10 really big words by hiw elbow and used them to prop up his pathetic prose.

    he might be a good reporter, but he’s a lousy writer who didn’t deserve a column.

  8. voiceofthevoiceless Says:

    If, in fact, Stephen A. Smith made those errors and they got into the newspaper, good ole boy Marimow ought to be looking at the folks on the copy desk. Aren’t they the last line of defense. Oh, yea, wait a minute, that was before the paper was gutted and 71 people got laid off.

  9. ryan Says:

    its about damn time he got canned. i can’t stomach that guy. his columns are even worse than his appearances on ESPN. he obviously has no allegiance to philadelphia. he’s a new yorker through and through and doesn’t try to show any love to philly at all. get rid of him and bring in a real writer that actually knows something about the area.

    Bill Conlin for president!

  10. Alonzo Says:

    I agree with Ryan. Stephen was definitely a New Yorker through and through. He had no allegiance to this town and always carried New York’s Jock Strap in his columns. I don’t mind him having other interests; however, I hate someone coming to my home town, making money here, and not giving back.

  11. JHay Says:

    Good. Stephen A. Smith is a douche on TV. So arrogant. So abrasive. Maybe this will be a wake up call to take the stick out of his ass. Anyone that demands their middle initial be announced just sounds like a dick!

  12. Charles Says:

    Stephen A. is a loud mouth, but he brings energy to an otherwise dead philly newspaper scene. Maybe they need to get rid of some of those good ole boys and get some new blood in there. You know the world is changing…

  13. elbinkogrande Says:

    Smith’s columns were an embarrassment. Dan (above) has it right. I think it’s a safe bet that Philly sports page readers will be spared of his drivel in the future. Ain’t no way he’s gonna “take a step back” and accept a reporter slot. Mercifully so.

  14. Ryan B. Says:

    Thank Goodness he is gone. Stephen A. Smith is the most arrogant racisit in the media. He is nothing more than a loud mouthed self-absorbed malcontent.

    Now if only ESPN would wake-up and toss him so I can watch their station again.

  15. Randall Says:

    He was okay at first but now he is just annoying. As a balck I am happy yo another do well but at some point you have to as my white brothers would say, “cut the fat.”

  16. const Says:

    Worst radio host ever. So divisive. So delusional. So racist.

    I only wish 1050 would get rid of him. The SAS brand is worthless.

  17. Larry Says:

    I wish Mr. Smith would end up with Vick. 2 racists – almost as bad as John Thompson Sr.

  18. TJG Summell Says:

    It sounds like Inquirer Mgmt. was totally justified in resassigning this guy … the newspaper biz is really not the place if you want a ride on the gravy train. Those days are just about over. And don’t blame the copy desk — that is the lamest, laziest excuse in journalism.

  19. Bill W. Says:

    Steven A is to writing what Mike Vick is to Ethics.

  20. Peter Says:

    I don’t think it is an issue of race. The guy is just not insightful and if he’s not ranting and raving, he’s boring in print, on the radio or on tv.

  21. Golden State Says:

    The frustrating thing about Smith is that he’s a decent interviewer but a horrible analyst. When talking to guests on his ESPN2 show, he often gets them to open up or at least be engaging. However, his basketball analysis is the definition of sizzle over steak (and really, there ain’t even that much sizzle), all shouting and posturing. Or as James used to say, talkin’ loud and saying nothing.

  22. Inky Hater Says:

    Please…most of you are probably middle-aged white guys who wish sports writers were still all white…..Stephen A. Smith is one of the better writers in Philly and you would know that if you lived here like I do. First the Inky drives out NFL writer Mike Bruton and now Stephen A. Smith…please this paper has just be transformed into trash….Smith can just go over to ESPN and write….ESPN gets more internet hits and viewers than the Inky ever will….Man…people can stand a brother obtain success can they?

  23. Joe G. Says:

    Great piece, I’m thrilled to know so many others share my dislike of both his writing and personality. What a dropoff from Bill Lyon to SAS! He wrote the same humorless, vindictive, racially biased, frequently factually incorrect column every day. I do agree with Voiceofthevoiceless’ point about lack of editorial intervention with stuff like simple facts.

  24. Johnny Goodtimes Says:

    I’m not sure I understand why everyone wants to play the race card when putting down Stephen A. It is unnecessary and somewhat unfair (did any of you read his piece about the Duke lacrosse situation?) That being said, Stephen A. is a talentless hack who kept a byline b/c he was a celebrity, not because he has any writing talent. The only thing more painful than reading him is listening to him, but ESPN loves talentless clowns who talk loud without saying anything (Stuart Scott, Jim Rome, Michael Irvin), so I’m sure he’ll always have a job with them.

  25. Boulder Eagle Says:

    Sorry Inky Hater, but race has nothing to do with it. Stephen A. is a hack; David Aldridge is a million times better. All Smith tries to do is stir up trouble and be as inflammatory as possible. I read Inquirer Sports daily online, and I stopped reading his stuff awhile back because his opinion is totally worthless and his ego is unjustified.

  26. Michael Sheehan Says:

    For another take on Mr. Smith, readers might want to see a commentary at Durham in Wonderland.

    The author discusses Mr. Smith’s 28 May 2006 article ‘Its a Case of Dumb and Dumber at Duke’ at some length at:

  27. It’s about time « The FynalCut Says:

    […] That being said, it looks pretty clear Screamin’ Stephen has had his column forcefully taken away by the Philadelphia Enquirer. […]

  28. flyerrod Says:

    S.A.S. is unreadable and if you have to listen to him, he is like fingernails down a blackboard. Good riddance to him. He is an embarrassment to the real writers he works with such as John Smallwood and Marcus Hayes. Also to Inky Hater, I am a middle aged white guy that just doesn’t like to listen to drivel. For example, what kind of “reporter” would go to the River Walk (Large Tourist trap that is avoided by the locals)in San Antonio looking for Spurs fans?

  29. udiggit Says:

    there are many white sports reporters that are not appealling, we just accept them and move on. when a black reporter show some personility,some opinion,white males are up in arms over him.

  30. Dante Says:

    Just read the “for the record” section of the inky to see how many facts slip through the cracks each and every day. It’s a function of newspapers that they get things wrong, which is why you are supposed to pay people to check for those things. Tierney et all decided early on that paying people wasn’t part of the bargain and, so, we’re all idiots because we get what we pay for (unless you’re smart enough to read it on-line or ignore it all together).
    That said, as a white person myself, it’s fun to listen to other white people when they think it’s their chance to throw the racist tag around (or back?). Somebody’s got some chip on their shoulder, don’t they? Ah, if people’s perspective on race was more than two inches thick…

  31. Ken Carpenter Says:

    Where were the copy editors, who are employed to catch Smith’s gaffes? On the road, too?

  32. Jay Says:

    Well lots of racist commentary on this blog. Perhaps Mr. Smith is terrible
    at his job, along with the rest of the Inquirer which is an absolute joke of
    a Newspaper, because he had to cover sports in PHILADELPHIA! That must
    be akin to living te same overcast day everyday because the sun never shines
    in Philly and never will. Comparing Smith to Vick just goes to show you how
    much human trash there is residing in Philly and you wonder why your City
    can’t catch a break. Racist LOSERS!

  33. NewspaperChick Says:

    When the copy desk is a shell of what it was, and whomever is left of its staff is reading twice as much to cover the losses, quality control tends to take a hit. Just the way it is. And in the world of declining profits, “the last line of defense” — newspaper copy editors, the anonymous employees who don’t have bylines or credits — have been the first ones the bean-counters have looked to to cut.

  34. Dunder Mifflin Says:

    Please, don’t pass this off on the bean-counters and the copy editors. SAS is responsible for his writing and if he were a professional, he wouldn’t be this sloppy. Copy editors are there for certain things, yes, but come on, his mistakes were so egregious.

    Gimme a break, the guy’s a joke.

  35. K. Foster Says:

    I thought Stephen A. had been on vacation or something. Now that Stephen A. is gone as well as Allen Iverson I have no need to keep my link to Philly news.
    K. Foster (Ogden UT)

  36. P Sailorman Says:

    Stephen A. Smith Loves Cheese Doodles… that is all that truly matters.

  37. brkillens Says:

    Stephen A. Smith is too full of “self” and lacks the intellectual ability to be a good NBA commentator. I wish ESPN would fire him!!!

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  43. Darryl Says:

    Who care about Stephen A. Smith?! I think he is a loud mouth fool that doesn’t know a thing about basketball or any other sport. I turn of the TV when he is on, because he does a few interview he thinks he knows more than the people he is on the shows with. I wish he would sit back and listen to himself some times. I’ve never seen someone that thinks they know more than the people that play or has played the game. I am far from a Bill Walton fan but Bill has done it all, how can Smith compare to him. He needs to shut his mouth and listen some times and stop cutting people off.

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  45. Donald Says:

    Smith is a jerk! Espn would do well to get rid of him. His remarks are wild, angry and he sounds like a rascist. Who cares what he thinks? Whenever we see him we flip the channel. Hope he doesn’t get a job anywhere so we don’t have to hear his lame critiques of sports situations. His latest tirade over tiger Woods sincerity in his apology was totally out of bounds. Get rid of this bum!

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