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It’s been obvious for a while now that ESPN’s First Take duo of Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman weren’t exactly keen on each other for whatever reason(s).

Now with word that Max Kellerman is on his way out of the show and Stephen A. will be hosting new debate partners on a daily basis instead of straight up replacing Max with a longterm partner. While Smith has kept mum on the rumors and developments over at First Take, he did give The Morning Hustle his feelings on the pending departure and assured them that talk of a personal beef between the two was an “absolute lie.”

“[Max Kellerman] has a way of doing things; I have another way. He equivocates a lot — obviously he’s very, very intellectual — and he wants to show you how knowledgeable he is, which is a strategy that a lot of people use in a debate format. I’m the kind of person [whereas] I don’t give a damn — “Here’s where I stand,” “This is the reason why,” [and] “Deal with how I feel.” That’s me!”

Aight, guess we’ll just have to take this at face value, but fans of the show can read faces and felt like Stephen A. Smith was less than happy to be sharing hosting duties with Kellerman for a while now.

Things certainly got tense when there was even word that ESPN was trying to bring back First Take OG and Stephen A’s favorite debate partner, Skip Bayless to return for an ESPN+ First Take show. Unfortunately for them Skip decided to remain at FOX Sports where he and Shannon Sharpe give their own hot takes on sports news every morning on Undisputed.

Max Kellerman will be alright though as he has his own podcasts on ESPN radio and a boxing program on ESPN2. What kind of rumors about their personal drama leaks going forward remain to be seen, but regardless it won’t matter a bit as Stephen A. Smith is signed to ESPN for the foreseeable future so it won’t bother him one bit.

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