Rolling Out

Stephen A. Smith temporarily banned Pat McAfee from ‘First Take’ after blowout

The two famously bombastic ESPN personalities fell out recently after an impassioned argument
Stephen A. Smith
Stephen A. Smith (Photo credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre for rolling out)

Stephen A. Smith and Pat McAfee, the two titans of ESPN, were recently embroiled in an explosive argument over the phone, resulting in Smith reportedly temporarily banning McAfee from the top-rated “First Take” show.


Smith and McAfee, two of the most recognizable sports personalities in the nation, locked horns over creative differences, according to Sports Illustrated and The Daily Mail. The shouting was reportedly about a show that is soon due to air on ESPN and produced by Smith’s production company, SAS Productions.


Amid the verbal tussling at high decibels, the famously impassioned McAfee — known for frequently uttering profanities on his eponymous sports show — unleashed the word “mutherf——” at the equally animated Smith.

After sifting through the metaphorical debris of their destructive argument, Smith reportedly exiled McAfee from “First Take” which he had been guesting once a week during this latest NFL season.


Sports Illustrated said McAfee’s banishment from “First Take” was temporary. In fact, McAfee didn’t even know he was blacklisted. The NFL season ended in early February and, therefore, he would not be doing guest spots again until the 2024-25 season begins in late summer.

Smith, McAfee say they are good now

Both men indicated to the media that they have since reconciled their differences since that eruption.

“I have nothing but love for Stephen A.,” McAfee told The New York Post in a statement. “I think I’m still welcome on ‘First Take.’ I was scheduled through football season to join on Tuesdays. Hopefully, next year that’ll happen as well.”

Smith added in a separate statement to the newspaper that the ice has thawed in their chilly relations.

“Pat McAfee and I have no issue and the notion that he’d be banned from ‘First Take’ is B.S,” Smith reportedly penned to The Post. 

“We are No. 1 and he has absolutely contributed to us remaining No.1. McAfee was asked to come on each Tuesday through the Super Bowl and he did just that, kicking a– each time he came on the air.”

Smith added that McAfee is welcome to return to “First Take” on Tuesdays in the fall.

‘If McAfee wants to be on ‘First Take’ next season, he will be on ‘First Take.’ I love winners and McAfee has proven he wins — which helps ME win,” Smith penned. “I don’t know how many times I have to tell folks that he’s trail-blazed a path into a new era for so many of us. I’m grateful to have him as a part of my team and the ESPN Family. And I’m looking forward to having him on for years to come. I sincerely hope that I will not have to repeat myself on this nonsense again!’

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