Stephen A. Smith notoriously detests the Dallas Cowboys, frequently playing it up for the sake of First Take to the point where Jerry Jones doesn’t seem to buy it anymore.
Thursday morning, First Take was live from Frisco, Texas, the training camp site for America’s Team, allowing Smith to face thousands of rabid Cowboys fans. Despite Smith’s apparent ire towards the Cowboys and their fans, when faced by the team’s owner, it was all sunshine and rainbows, with First Take failing to take Jerry Jones to task for his decades of failed leadership in Dallas.
Jones is willing to talk and give a good quote, but First Take displayed zero inclination to take advantage of that. And as if putting Smith in a boat for last Monday’s episode of First Take wasn’t enough, he arrived to Thursday’s show by way of Jones’ helicopter where the duo kicked off their chummy relationship.
Credit First Take for at least creating a raucous environment, filled with fans screaming jeers of “Stephen A. Smith SUCKS!” and unison chants of “JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!” mirroring The Jerry Springer Show. But as Smith and Jones exchanged compliments, the Cowboys owner hit ESPN’s premier sports talker with the most damning of accusations.
Jerry Jones has a message for @stephenasmith ?
"Deep down you're a fraud, you're a real Cowboy fan!" pic.twitter.com/FEZ1UD4eaX
— First Take (@FirstTake) August 25, 2022
“I want him there, the prodigal son. We’ll let him right back in,” Jones said of his desire to see Smith hop onto the Cowboys’ bandwagon. “What I’m saying is deep down you’re a fraud! You’re a real Cowboy fan…We’re in the hot sun, we’re having a walk through in here today and we’ve got thousands of fans out here. And I know they’re not here to watch Stephen A.!”
While there are certainly sports fans who believe Stephen A. Smith is a fraud, considering First Take to be about entertainment and showmanship more than than information or news, it hits different coming from the Cowboys owner who can similarly be considered fraudulent, caring more about his team’s perception than its success. Thursday represented an opportunity for Smith to prove his hatred for the Cowboys, but his affection for Jones shined through instead.
For Smith, attempting to maintain authenticity is crucial to his brand. It’s why Skip Bayless pushed back on the idea of being a contrarian, even though he’s obviously a contrarian. Hot take artists will deny any fraudulence to keep from being labeled some sort of outrage-monger, but that didn’t stop Jones from calling Smith out on his own show.