Chris Russo slams Stephen A. Smith for missing First Take

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo has no shortage of things to be mad at, but one thing that really irks him is Stephen A. Smith giving First Take the shaft.

Smith is in the middle of making the media rounds to promote his newly released memoir Straight Shooter, and his wide-ranging book tour appears to be getting priority over First Take. Wednesday morning, Russo went into performer mode and reminded Smith that First Take is his moneymaker.

“Get your rear end in that chair,” Russo ranted. “I want you here every day at nine o’clock in the morning, not getting here at five after 10, not leaving here after the Cowboys win and you leave at 10:30 to do what? THE VIEW!”

On Tuesday, Awful Announcing highlighted the hypocrisy of Smith skipping First Take to promote his book on The View just one week after he boasted about his attendance record while criticizing Shannon Sharpe for missing an episode of Undisputed. Just as Smith checked Sharpe for being absent from his FS1 show with co-host Skip Bayless, Russo checked Smith for ducking out of First Take, especially the morning after a Dallas Cowboys playoff win.

Wednesday morning, Smith continued his book tour by joining Howard Stern on SiriusXM. Although he made it to ESPN on time for the start of First Take, he apparently missed the pre-show meeting with Russo.

“How dare you miss openings of shows to do radio or TV interviews,” Russo yelled at Smith. “YOU LEFT AT 10:30! Today we needed to have a talk at ten to 10 and you’re running back from Howard Stern! You’re not even in the office yet! Enough already! You’ve made a fortune! We get it, the book’s not bad, we can move on. Can we move on from this stupid book? I’ve had enough of Straight Shooter!”

It’s one thing to call Smith out for putting ESPN and First Take on the back burner during the NFL playoffs to go promote his memoir, but mocking Straight Shooter as a “stupid book” just one day after it was released? That’s a low blow from Russo.

[First Take]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to