At $12 million per year, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith says he’s ‘underpaid’ compared to white counterparts

Popular sports broadcaster Stephen A. Smith has been on the air for more than 23 years. For the last 11 of those, he has been part of ESPN’s show “First Take,” where he has had seemingly no limits on what topics he can cover and what things he can say.

In so doing, he makes $8 million per year, plus another $4 million for his production contract, according to the New York Post. Yet he still evidently thinks he is being held back by white people.

Before the start of the World Series last week, Smith was discussing what he thought was a terribly important topic – the racial makeup of the two teams vying for the championship. The predicate for the discussion was a story in the Associated Press which observed a lack of American-born black players on the two rosters, for the first time since 1950.

What a crisis! Not enough black players in sports! This exposed a nerve for the oppressed-yet-wealthy broadcaster.

“We are still black in this country,” he started nonsensically. “We don’t trust this country in terms of meritocracy always. We know the bottom line is that just like women are underpaid compared to male counterparts, blacks are underpaid compared to white counterparts.”

“And so when you look at it from that perspective,” he continued, “and of course, people look at me, I’m not talking about me even though, I got news for you, I am underpaid compared to some people on television what they get paid, but that’s a subject for another day. I ain’t apologizing for that to a damn soul. I am underpaid. Having said all of that, it ain’t about me.”

How does he not get fired for saying that? Publicly making the business you work for look bad is generally frowned upon, isn’t it? But then, ESPN is monumentally woke.

We should note that Smith’s white former co-host, Max Kellerman, reportedly made only $1 million per year, and Smith wanted him gone. Kellerman was forced out in 2021. That wasn’t racist, of course.

Nevertheless, race seems to be a pet grievance for Smith.

In early 2015, the Philadelphia Eagles traded black running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for white linebacker Kiko Alonso. Had to be racism, right? Obviously. Even though about 70% of NFL players are black.

Smith made inflammatory remarks about the Eagles’ head coach at the time: “Chip Kelly has made decisions over the last couple of years that, dare I say, leave a few brothers feeling uncomfortable.”

According to Audacy, the underpaid Stephen A. Smith makes more than successful white guys Jim Nantz, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. In fact, Audacy’s list of sports personalities with publicly-disclosed compensation has him as the 4th-highest-paid sports broadcaster, behind Jim Rome, Tony Romo, and Michael Strahan. Terry Bradshaw didn’t even make the list.

“Stephen A. Smith money” is apparently a benchmark. Maria Taylor was recently involved in contentious salary negotiations with ESPN and reportedly said she was looking for “Stephen A. Smith money,” like a baseball player who’s looking for “Mike Trout money.”

But poor Stephen A. Smith just can’t seem to make “white people money.” Cry me a river, dude.


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