ESPN commentator’s on-air screaming explosion against his own network should cost him his job

Talk about anger management issues.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith didn’t take too kindly to a story from his network on all the dysfunction inside the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team during Magic Johnson’s tenure as team president.

The commentator is know for blustering, but Smith launched into a full-on rage over the timing of a story published the same day he was hosting an NBA Finals special that Magic Johnson, a Hall of Fame player who played for the Lakers for 13 seasons, was set to appear on.

“Unfortunately for me, I am forced to address yet the latest story about the dysfunctional franchise known as the Los Angeles Lakers,” Smith said Tuesday on his radio show, raising his voice as he spoke. “I’m not happy about it one bit. I got better things to do with my damn time — better things to do!”

 

“I wake up this morning, minding my own damn business, getting set to do my job, and talk about these NBA Finals,” Smith raged on. “But obviously I’d have to take a moment because ESPN.com decides to come out with a story on the day that Magic and the crew are going to be here.”

He then tries to have it both ways, ripping the timing of the story, while praising the work of the reporter behind it.

“Story comes out — Baxter Holmes, reporter, senior writer on the NBA for ESPN, by the way, does an outstanding job. And did an outstanding job with this story. There’s nothing missing here. But he wrote this big exposé, he’s been working on it for two years! And there’s a lot to deduce from it, because we don’t want to take away from his work! He did his job.”

“Do I like the fact that I have to deal with it today?” Smith continued. “Hell, no! Quite annoyed by it! That’s neither here nor there. I’m a big boy. I can take it.”

Clearly, Smith doesn’t realize that in making it all about himself, he’s coming across more like a big baby than a “big boy.”

Even more egregious, he begins mocking his employer, sarcastically repeating ESPN’s website as he belittles the network for promoting the piece — never mind that it helps them pay for their stable of over-priced commentators like Stephen A. Smith.

“Go check it out on ESPN.com,” Smith said. “Obviously it’s very, very important. I mean, it’s cover of ESPN.com. Big deal, right? Go ahead and look at it. ESPN.com. Let’s make sure we mention that! It’s right there! Let’s make sure we mention that! ESPN.com! Go read the story!”

Remarkable.

One might think that if ESPN was not a liberal-leaning company, and Smith not a member of a protected class, the commentator might be looking for a new job right about now.

But they are, and he is.

Although, a quick sampling of the reaction on social media suggests it may be just a matter of time.

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Tom Tillison

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