Dan Le Batard: Stephen A. Smith’s ‘problem is not actually with me, it’s with what Jemele Hill said’

Video dan le batard stephen a smith

It’s no secret that Dan Le Batard and Stephen A. Smith have their differences.

Le Batard caused chaos in the sports media world earlier this year by bluntly telling Smith he “hates” what the First Take host and Skip Bayless have done to sports television. After appearing stunned by the criticism, Smith immediately fired back, asking Le Batard, “What about you?”

The two remain friendly and Le Batard even offered some praise for his former colleague during Monday’s edition of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. However, he also responded to Smith, who has voiced some annoyance that ESPN is always open for discussion on the Meadowlark Media airwaves.

Last Wednesday, Smith had this to say about Le Batard on The Stephen A. Smith Show:

“Like his ass has been doing accounting. Didn’t you have Highly Questionable? Was our daddy on the show with us? That was you…I’m talking about your comfort. You was on the show just looking at your father saying hi and giving him a hug and a kiss? You were debating! That’s what you were doing.

“It amazes me how somebody like a Dan Le Batard will sit up there and lament the state of affairs in an industry you are participating in! You’re sitting on the air, I don’t know how long ago it was, with Jemele Hill talking about ‘It’s a great, great thing you left.’ Really? OK. Probably is.”

Le Batard played the audio clip of Smith suggesting that he was debating his father on Highly Questionable, which he laughed off as Smith having never watched the show.

“Stephen A. Smith doesn’t have time. He’s too busy talking all over the rest of the network to watch any of what’s happening on shows elsewhere on the network,” Le Batard quipped.

Le Batard also took issue with this quote from Stephen. A, which he didn’t play the audio from, but acknowledged that he didn’t think it was a “fair criticism.”

“What I won’t do is constantly lament an employer that was once good enough for me to take money from. That’s BS! It really, really is,” Smith said.

“I got in trouble all the time because I was always saying at ESPN microphones while taking ESPN’s money, that ESPN should be covered the way it covers others and it’s a real blind spot at the network that it doesn’t,” Le Batard said. “But I understand why he would arrive at this particular viewpoint. The part about this that was, to me, in the shadows and more objectionable than some of the stuff we’re talking about, is his problem is not actually with me, it’s with what Jemele Hill said on our platform.

“This is more complicated because I’m a much easier target for him to put a name on than going after the Black female that he also respects, that he doesn’t want to start that back and forth when it’s easier to just frame it under me. When I didn’t say the thing he objected to.”

Le Batard played a clip from his interview with Hill from over two years ago, which he believes is what Smith was/is taking exception to.

“Thinking about my situation, it’s like they were reacting to a moment then. That moment said that people didn’t want to hear any political talk, any racial talk, any special justice talk; not that that was something [Michael Smith] and I were doing every day on ‘SportsCenter.’ We weren’t. They let a false narrative persist about our show that people just kind of ran away with.

“They let the idiots in the room control the conversation, people like Clay Travis. That’s what happened. And because they allowed those people to direct their course of action, they panicked, and suddenly they were very intentional about the things that they were doing in our show. They wanted Black faces, they didn’t necessarily want black voices. And that’s how it came off, right? And so because of that, we wound up paying the price.”

Le Batard believes that Smith has taken issue with the phrase: “They wanted Black faces, not Black voices.”

“I understand him getting bothered by that insult, but your problem isn’t with me, Stephen A. Smith,” Le Batard said. “You should take that up with her publicly if the objection is I don’t like being told that I am somebody who’s kept by the company, even as you write in your book, that you wake up every day thinking of ways to make money for the company and you’re the one they throw out there when Dana White gets in trouble and they’ve got all sorts of conflict of interest and they need somebody to give a voice to something and you talk about how you’re friends with Dana White. Your objection is not actually with me. And I would love to discuss this with him in a form that wasn’t ‘let’s see who can win an argument, let’s debate.’ Let’s just talk like human beings.”

[The Stephen A. Smith Show, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz via Barrett Sports Media]

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