Stephen A. Smith made some bombshell claims about his new First Take co-host during a recent conversation with Joe Budden. During the podcast episode, Smith claimed that he doesn't view his acquisition of Shannon Sharpe as poaching or anything like that because Sharpe "didn't leave of his own volition". It's the first major behind-the-scenes claim about the atmosphere at Undisputed prior to Sharpe's departure.
However, it makes sense. It's an open secret at this point that Skip Bayless has been seeking more and more control over his flagship show at FS1. It's likely that Bayless wanted Sharpe out so that he could restructure the show to once again put himself at the top of the pecking order. This is supported by the fact several people were considered and rejected to replace Sharpe and most were rejected on the basis that they would be too much of an equal opponent for Bayless. Instead, Bayless reportedly wants easy wins when it comes to his debate partners.
Sharpe Still Acclimatizing To First Take
Meanwhile, Sharpe appears to still be getting used to his new life at First Take. Earlier this week, Sharpe once again called Smith "Skip" during a debate. While Sharpe was evidently embarrassed about it, Smith brushed it off. It's happened a couple of times since Sharpe began appearing on the show on September 4. It's become something of a minor meme at this point. Furthermore, Smith even went as far as to defend Sharpe from the people calling him out about the mistake.
"Will folks calm the F$&@ down please. The man (@ShannonSharpe) worked with Skip for 2 1/2 hours every single weekday for 6 1/2 YEARS! I’m surprised he hasn’t called me Skip more. Honest mistake. Nobody is fazed this way! So long as he shows up to @FirstTake when I ask, we are good! #TRUST," Smith wrote on X. How do you think Sharpe is doing? Let us know in the comments. Follow for all the latest sports news here at HotNewHipHop.