Stephen A. Smith took offense to a comment made by Monica McNutt, sparking a public defense of his and "First Take's" support for the WNBA. Screengrab: ‘The Stephen A. Smith Show’

Stephen A. Smith is pissed off.

Forget mincing words, Smith is livid with a specific colleague. While he typically avoids conflict within the company, there are always exceptions, and this seems to be a big one.

“Look, I’m not pissed to the point where I’m annoyed, and I’m gonna call people out their names and all that,” he began. “Especially people that I love, like the person I’m gonna talk about in a few minutes, but certain things need to be corrected, for the record. Because certain things people are ill-informed about.

“And the publications that grab the headlines and try to manipulate things and make things seem that they’re something that they’re not. I understand that some people are desperate for clickbait. That’s how they do it. They don’t care about accuracy. They just care about talking sh*t and not knowing what the hell they’re talking about.”

After taking aim at the media and going on a long-winded 20-minute rant about Caitlin Clark and the WNBA, Smith finally came around to addressing the elephant in the room, which was his confrontation that happened Monday morning with Monica McNutt.

“But for some reason, my colleague at ESPN, Ms. Monica McNutt, couldn’t figure that out,” Smith said, following some commentary he made about believing Clark’s success can be a marketing boon for the entire WNBA. “And took a conversation and did something she has never done before that absolutely shocked me that she did today, that I totally and emphatically disagree with. Although I do love her to death. And I do appreciate the great work she does for me on First Take on ESPN and the great work she does for ESPN overall. I love Monica McNutt.

“But this is the first real disagreement we had, and since she brought it up on national television, I’m gonna bring it up now.”

Here’s a refresher if you need one:

“Here’s the bigger issue, you know, there’s something that’s going on; a lot of people run from it, but I’m not,” Smith said. “Because I’m not scared of these subjects; doesn’t faze me at all. To address Monica McNutt’s point, I found it very unfortunate that she would say that. Ladies and gentlemen, I am the executive producer of First Take. You ever heard of Monica McNutt? You have now. Because she’s on First Take a lot.

“Chiney Ogwumike, absolutely wonderful, spectacular basketball analyst… ask her how it’s been to be on First Take. How about Andraya Carter? Who’s a rising star in this business? How much do you think First Take helped that? What about Kimberley Martin? What about Molly Qerim herself?

“Now, I have sat back for years and taken a lot of sh*t from people… I could care less about people getting at me; I just want you to be accurate. And it is highly offensive to me when somebody implies or flat-out states like Monica McNutt did this morning, which was factually incorrect. I challenge anybody to find a show on sports television that discusses women’s issues that discuss the WNBA, or women’s sports that highlights and profiles female analysts more than First Take. It’s been going on for years…

“We have Black women, we have white women. Mina Kimes, let me not forget to mention her. There’s a female host on my show. Ain’t nobody trying to let go of Molly. Before her, it was Cari Champion… First Take has spearheaded diversity and equity. Do you have any idea how offensive it was for me to sit there and hear Monica McNutt say that about me when I’m the one who hand-picked our roster on First Take?”

Smith wanted to clarify that his disagreement was solely regarding McNutt’s recent comment. He holds McNut in high regard, considering her both a friend and someone he supports. However, in defense of First Take, he felt compelled to address that particular point.

“What she said is blatantly false,” Smith explained. “I’m not accusing her of lying. I’m accusing her of not knowing. Because she’s not a liar, she’s an honorable person. She must not have known. The WNBA, could have I done more? Well, guess what, Monica McNutt? I could’ve done less. Who’s done more? Hell, a legitimate argument could be made if the WNBA wasn’t doing it for themself. The commissioner of the WNBA came on First Take to thank us for what we were doing for the WNBA. Who else was doing it? Where were these people at?”

Despite showering McNutt with praise and emphasizing his respect for her as both a friend and analyst, Smith felt compelled to address her recent “unfortunate” comments on national television. He wants to clear the record: McNutt’s statement painted a false picture of his and the show’s commitment to the WNBA.

“That is not true,” he said. “Could I have done more? Well, if you’re sports show and sports show, you gotta talk about what’s percolating; you gotta talk about what’s resonating. You got to pay attention to what the masses are paying attention to. And the fact of the matter is, they weren’t paying any attention to the WNBA. So, there’s only so much I could do until the WNBA did something for itself. And then the second there was a sliver to do something more for the sport, I have always done something.”

And he sure did something about it on his podcast.

[The Stephen A. Smith Show]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.