Stephen A. Smith, the popular ESPN personality, addressed the recent layoffs at the network on his show. He expressed his disappointment and sympathy for the approximately 20 on-air talents who were let go, describing them as friends and respected colleagues who deserved better.
Smith specifically mentioned Jalen Rose, Jeff Van Gundy, Neil Everett, Ashley Brewer, Keyshawn Johnson, David Pollack, and Todd McShay, praising their contributions to ESPN and expressing sadness at their departures. He acknowledged their talent and expertise in basketball analysis, sports anchoring, college football, and NFL Draft coverage.
While some people on Twitter thought Smith had omitted Max Kellerman, his former co-host on "First Take," he did pay tribute to him on his show. Smith mentioned that despite their history and parting ways on the show, he did not want Kellerman to be unemployed, wished him well, and would be willing to help him if needed.
The layoffs at ESPN were first reported by Andrew Marchand of The Post. The cuts included analysts Matt Hasselbeck, Steve Young, Suzy Kolber, LaPhonso Ellis, radio host Jason Fitz, host Jordan Cornette, baseball writer Joon Lee, NBA reporter Nick Friedell, and veteran reporter Gene Wojciechowski, who confirmed his departure on Twitter.
Smith's comments reflect his support and appreciation for his colleagues while acknowledging the challenging circumstances leading to the cost-cutting measures at ESPN.