As the co-hosts of ESPN‘s afternoon program Numbers Never Lie, Hugh Douglas and Michael Smith looked to be amicable working partners. Last Friday (August 2) however, several witnesses say the pair nearly came to blows after Douglas called Smith a racial slur.
Douglas, a former NFL player, and Smith were in Orlando to attend the National Association of Black Journalists conference. At an after party at the House of Blues, Douglas, who stands at 6-2 and 280 pounds, was drinking heavily according to a breaking report from The Big Lead.
Witnesses say Douglas threatened to beat up his much smaller co-host three times and was upset because Smith wouldn’t help him onstage where a DJ was playing.
According to three separate accounts, Douglas yelled at Smith who then walked away. Douglas allegedly grabbed Smith’s wrists and yanked him back, calling him a “House Ni–a” and “Uncle Tom” in the process. As Smith went to defend himself, bystanders rushed in to break up the potential fight.
ESPN has responded publicly to the matter, taking Douglas off the program until details can be sorted out. According to sources speaking to the New York Daily News, Douglas is in danger of losing his job. Smith, who has appeared back on the program with third host Jemele Hill, has not addressed the incident via comment or otherwise.