Stephen A. Smith Shannon Sharpe Credit: USA TODAY Images

One of the biggest sports media stories of the last year has been the rise of Shannon Sharpe. The Hall of Fame tight end-turned-media personality might not have envisioned it while he was a member of The NFL Today in his early years. Sharpe, however, has become one of the most recognizable faces in the media. Last year, his exit from FS1’s Undisputed drew a lot of shock and significant interest. Namely, what went wrong, and what was behind Sharpe’s move from Fox to ESPN.

Months later, we might have our answer. Stephen A. Smith, who would know just as much as anyone, emerged to tell the world what went down behind the scenes that lead to Sharpe moving to ESPN. Smith, of course, is the featured voice on First Take with Sharpe. On Cam Newton’s 4th and 1 show, Smith broke down what went down.

According to Smith, he called Sharpe after he and Bayless had an infamous spat during Undisputed that in Smith’s eyes immediately meant his time was running out.

“Nobody’s asked me that question,” Smith admitted. “So I give you props for asking it. Shannon didn’t even know he was unavailable before I did,” Smith revealed.

“If you remember, him and Skip got into it about the whole Brady thing. Right? And Shannon sort of lost it and he was cool from that point forward. Then you fast-forward, and the whole thing with Damar Hamlin came down. And he was off the air that day. Then he came back on the air that day, and he was trying to say something and Skip wouldn’t let him finish his monologue.

“And when I saw that, I called him. ‘It’s over,'” Smith said. “He’s like, ‘What?’ I said, ‘You won’t be back.'”

More from Stephen A.:

“I said, ain’t no inside information. Nothing like that, I’m not betraying anybody’s trust or nothing. I know that man. I don’t give a damn what anybody says. I don’t give a damn… I know him. I know him, so I’m like, there is no way on earth that that happened, and you’ll be back. It will not happen. You understand? And I want you to know, when it happens, not if, I said, ‘I got you.'”

This would appear to line up with a statement Smith made back in September on Sharpe’s exit. The ESPN personality suggested Sharpe was “pushed out” of the network. His back-and-forth and sparring with Bayless, as Smith hypothesized, likely had much to do with it.

Sharpe later responded to the video. “True story,” the Hall of Famer said.

[4th and 1 Show]

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022