Stephen A. Smith is never one to back down from a question and he was more than forthcoming about the departure of Shannon Sharpe from Undisputed and bringing him to ESPN on the Joe Budden Podcast. Budden made a statement saying that while he liked that Smith was open about him wanting Sharpe to join him on First Take, he viewed it as a competitive jab at Skip Bayless.
Joe Budden: “That’s a jab! You went after the [Undisputed] co-host so soon.”
Stephen A. Smith: “I didn’t look at it that way. I would’ve if Shannon [Sharpe] left of his own volition”
SAS says Shannon was pushed out of Undisputed 😯
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 13, 2023
Smith responded, saying, “I didn't look at it that way. I would've looked at it that way if Shannon left of his own volition. I'm telling you he was pushed out.”
Budden replied, “That's the first time I've ever heard that.”
Stephen A. was demonstrative in his claim. “Well, I'm telling you. And it's fact. Now, they can deny it. He wouldn't. I can promise you that. He was pushed out. He didn't want to leave. He was notified that, ‘your services were no longer be needed.'
“But, then again, that's his story to tell. But, I'm telling you what I know and I'm giving you facts. And so, when I saw that…it wasn't just that I know the brother's talented. It wasn't just that I know that he's a three-time Super Bowl champion and an NFL Hall of Famer. It wasn't just that I knew he was in television the last six years. I saw me from the standpoint of I was let go in 2009 and left for dead.”
Stephen A. Smith's story is consistent with the comments he made to Shannon Sharpe when he appeared on his “Club Shay Shay” podcast prior to their first show together on Labor Day.
Sharpe said on the episode to Stephen A., “What you're telling me now, you were telling me things that was going on at Fox…hell I didn't know…and you're telling me, ‘Bro, it's going down like this. It's happening like this.'”
Smith. asked him if he was right and Sharpe responded, “You were absolutely spot on!”
It seems as if there's way more to the story between Shannon Sharpe's departure. Hopefully, we'll get more clarity one day, as this is a lesson to be studied by all aspiring media professionals about how the business works. You can listen to Stephen A. Smith's full interview with the Joe Budden Podcast on Apple Podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. The video of the podcast is available on the Joe Buden Podcast Patreon.