Stephen A. Smith Says He Still Supports ESPN's 'Stick to Sports' Mandate

Scott Giebel | June 28, 2024

ESPN is no stranger to integrating politics into its programming, despite its supposed focus on sports. However, they recently instituted a 'stick to sports' mandate, garnering support from an unexpected figure.

Stephen A. Smith, known for voicing his typically liberal political views on “First Take,” a sports-centric show, has chosen to align with ESPN's new direction.

According to an article by Awful Announcing, Smith was on “The Rich Eisen Show” where he discussed his podcast in which he likes to share his social and political opinions, but understands topics of that nature don’t fit into sports. 

Related: Stephen A. Smith Makes the Stanley Cup Final All About Race

Smith would also give credit to Jimmy Pitaro, who became the President of ESPN in 2018, on how he has changed the direction of the company. 

“When Jimmy Pitaro arrived around 2018, he wanted us to veer away from politics and he was absolutely right because it was hurting the network,” Smith said. “I completely supported him then. I completely support him now.”

It's noteworthy that ESPN is altering its approach by distancing itself from political issues. However, despite Smith's endorsement, it remains uncertain whether he will strictly adhere to this stance, so the news should be approached with caution.


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