Stephen A. Smith saw what the world had to say about ESPN not firing him during their “blood bath” layoffs earlier this week.
Needless to say, he doesn’t appreciate all of the hate.
The news of Smith not getting fired seemed to trump the news of a handful of well-known journalists getting let go. In addition to the barrage of tweets expressing a desire to see Smith be unemployed, former Sport Illustrated writer and author Jeff Pearlman took it upon himself to ether Smith and the state of sports journalism.
Pearlman said that Smith has gone “Ringling Bros.” Well, Smith has now entered the circus.
Smith responded to his haters and Pearlman directly on his radio show. He challenged all of them to get past their personal opinions about him and check his credentials. Credentials that include years of interning, writing for his college newspaper and North Carolina A&T, writing for the NY Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer and then finally landing at ESPN.
“I came up in this industry at a time where you had to be a journalist,” he said. “You had to break stories. You had to break news to elevate your career, to get to a certain point and a certain level in this business, before you even had the license to give your opinion, especially if you were a black man…We want to talk credentials? Name the time and place and I’ll show up. Tell me what level I didn’t work on. I worked as an intern. I worked at a high school. I worked at a college newspaper while I was taking 18 credits while on the basketball team. I climbed up this business. I’m an outspoken, loud ass mouth, black man. Who the hell do you think gave me an opportunity? I’m sorry, sir, this was earned, and every damn penny that I earned, that I have been blessed to have received in my career, I have earned…
What the Pearlmans and the others of the world want to do is take a loudmouth black person and act like I’m just a loudmouth. They want to ignore the credentials. They want to ignore the fact that I worked my way up to this point, that nothing was given to me, that my résumé in the business of sports journalism is comparable to anybody’s. You got people out here in this day and age that call themselves reporters and ain’t broke a damn story in years. I’ve broken more stories in one year than most people in our business have broken in their careers. But we don’t talk about that… We don’t want to talk about that, because when it comes to certain folks that we choose not to like, we want to act like they don’t have credentials…
The next time you bring up my name, don’t forget to bring up my résumé, my credentials,” he said. “And more importantly, what the hell I’m doing right now. This is earned, baby. Nothing has been given to me. Can we say that about you? I don’t know the answer to that, but I could make a guess if I wanted to, couldn’t I? Have a nice life.”
Pearlman did not hear Smith’s response, but he heard about it. His “didn’t hear any of it” stance led to people clowning him for not responding.
If reading Smith’s response in his “loudmouth” voice wasn’t enough for you, listen to him here.