Stephen A. Smith came clean about Max Kellerman’s “First Take” exodus.
Just a couple of weeks ago, reports surfaced that Max Kellerman was leaving ESPN’s First Take and that Stephen A. Smith was the architect behind the move. There were rumors that Smith did not like Kellerman and that he wanted the boxing analyst to be removed from the show immediately. Eventually, Smith responded to the rumors saying that they were not true. From there, Kellerman was taken off the show and he was replaced with the likes of Tim Tebow and Michael Irvin.
Now, Smith is going back on his previous comments and is fessing up to his desire to have Kellerman off the show. As he told Ebro and Peter Rosenberg on Hot 97 recently, he and Max simply didn’t have chemistry anymore and he felt that things needed to change immediately in order for the show to thrive. While Kellerman did not agree, it was ultimately Smith who put the pieces in motion.
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“The rumor’s accurate in terms of me wanting him off the show. Let’s get that out the way — yes, I did,” Stephen A. said. “We don’t have a bad relationship. I think he’s a real good guy, I appreciate what he did for the show, we were number one for five years, we stayed number one, and I appreciate that. It wasn’t really about asking him to be off the show, it was about the fact that I knew that we, together — as far as I was concerned — was not a great partnership anymore and that was something that needed to change.”
Moving forward, First Take will have a completely new feel to it, although, as always, Smith will be front and center. At this point, the show is far cry from the days of Skip Bayless.