After boasting that his audience can always count on him showing up to First Take when it matters most, where was Stephen A. Smith Tuesday morning after the Dallas Cowboys’ Wild Card victory?
Smith never hesitates to promote his hate-hate relationship with the Dallas Cowboys and their massive fanbase. So naturally, Smith should be on First Take to take his lumps after the Cowboys notched their first road playoff victory in 30 years by knocking off Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday night. But 30 minutes into his two-hour show Tuesday morning, Smith ducked out of First Take to go promote his newly released memoir, Straight Shooter, on The View.
Just to be clear, I have no issue with Smith leaving First Take early for The View or for his book tour, but the optics of him exiting his own show less than one week after he checked Shannon Sharpe for skipping Undisputed ain’t great.
Earlier this month, Sharpe was missing from an episode of his FS1 debate show the morning after co-host Skip Bayless sent a poorly timed tweet about Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin. Last week, Smith joined Draymond Green’s podcast for The Volume, and the First Take host questioned Sharpe’s decision to miss that episode of Undisputed.
“That’s your chair. You don’t give it up for nobody,” Smith said of Sharpe. “That’s yours. I don’t give a damn if you were in the chair and had nothing to say and you just wanted Skip to talk. You don’t miss sitting in that chair.”
After questioning Sharpe for not fulfilling the responsibility to be in his chair on Undisputed, Smith proceeded to boast about his own reliability on ESPN.
“When some real stuff hits, you turn on First Take, you expect to see Stephen A. And Stephen A. is going to show up,” Smith told Green.
One week later, you turn on First Take, you expect to see ESPN personalities theatrically ragging on Smith for two hours after the Cowboys’ dominant playoff win and he wasn’t in his chair. To his credit, Smith managed to sneak on First Take remotely for 30 minutes during what was a very poorly timed scheduled off-day. Smith blamed the publishing company of his book, Simon & Schuster for being in charge of scheduling his book tour, but they couldn’t find another time for him to spend 10 minutes on The View?
The NFL season will be over in less than a month from now and the mid-February sports lull seems like a great time for a book tour. If they couldn’t wait until February, maybe just don’t schedule appearances that pull Stephen A. Smith from his ESPN show the morning after ESPN aired its biggest NFL playoff game in network history. And at an absolute minimum, don’t schedule appearances to pull Stephen A. Smith from his ESPN show one week after he bragged about his attendance record while criticizing Sharpe’s.