Stephen A. Smith took to the air on his radio show Thursday to respond to a critique from former Sports Illustrated writer and best-selling author Jeff Pearlman. Stephen A. ripped all of his critics in fact, while also touting Pearlman’s resume and saying he wanted to give respect to all of his colleagues in the business. But in doing so, Smith absolutely blasted Pearlman by discussing his own accomplishments, and shutting down arguments against his position at ESPN.
Take a listen:
Stephen A. was angriest about Pearlman saying he used to be a journalist. Here’s what Smith had to say about that accusation:
“I used to be a journalist? Mr. Pearlman, you used to be a college student. You used to be a high-school student. Last time I checked, there’s a level of elevation that took place because you graduate to certain levels. I’m not a blogger. I came up in this industry where you had to be a journalist. You had to break stories. You had to break news in order to elevate your career to get to a certain point to get to a certain level before you even had the license to give your opinion, especially if you were a black man.
“Mr. Pearlman’s not black, maybe that’s why he doesn’t understand where I’m coming from. Maybe that’s why he’s so quick to talk about what I have deserved. I gave ya’ll my resume. I transferred from newspaper to television, from television to television and radio. I’ve done this. My credentials speak for themselves. I’m so sick and tired of people coming at me. If you want to talk credentials, name the time and place. Tell me what level I didn’t work on.”
Smith has a point. He gets ratings. People read, listen and watch him. He’s also worked his way up from the bottom to get where he is now. You don’t have to like him or his takes, but the guy has worked his tail off to get where he is.
Additionally, Smith didn’t lay people off, ESPN did. Yeah, he makes a lot of money, but he produces for the channel. If people didn’t watch or listen to him, he wouldn’t be making that kind of cash.
Anyone who knows this business — and Pearlman certainly does — understands what Smith has done in his career. Ripping him for benefiting from his hard work is simply misplaced ire. Be mad at ESPN’s mismanagement, not a guy who has worked his way into being a star for the network.