Stephen A. Smith "not planning on staying" with ESPN with analyst's contract in loop: "Will never get over how they let me go"
As ESPN fired many of its longtime contributors, Stephen A. Smith was one of them who stayed on the network, hosting "First Take". However, if the veteran TV broadcast analyst is supposed to be believed, he is going to be at the end of his road with the network soon.
He revealed that when his contract is due in a year-and-a-half, there is a good chance he will walk from ESPN. He revealed his reason being that he has still not gotten over how they let him go when he was with them the first time. His show on radio ended with the network in 2008 and he left in 2009 to join FOX Sports Radio.
Talking about the lingering bad feelings from that time, the veteran contributor said:
"My contract is up in 18 months and I can tell you right now, I'm not planning on staying. I hope to stay. I want to stay. Well, make no mistake about it. I will never get over how they let me go. Never. And as far as I'm concerned, they means everybody."
Stephen A. Smith prepared to be let down by ESPN
Stephen A. Smith said that he hopes to stay with ESPN, but is preparing for the worst. He went on to say that it is not just the network, but all across corporate America that one sees cuts in difficult times. Therefore, he is not ready to make the mistake he did the last time he left and not be prepared.
He said that is why he had put his own money into building his studio and why he has his own YouTube channel. Drawing a link back to his 2009 departure, the analyst continued:
"I built my own studio. I came seven figures out of my own pocket and built it. Okay. I got my own YouTube channel. I'm not playing around... And it absolutely positively breeds from what transpired to me in 2009. That will never ever happen to an unprepared Stephen A. Smith. I'm always going to be prepared to be gone."
Even though Smith was spared by ESPN in the latest round of cuts, he has seen many talented people have to leave the network suddenly. And he has the personal experience from over a decade ago when he was in the same position.