Rolling Out

Stephen A. Smith rages about Monica McNutt saying ‘First Take’ failed WNBA

The host of ESPN’s flagship show ‘First Take’ defends his record of covering women’s sports, including the WNBA
Stephen A. Smith
Stephen A. Smith (Photo credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre for rolling out)

Stephen A. Smith went volcanic on his eponymous podcast in an impassioned defense of his ESPN show “First Take” after his colleague, Monica McNutt, accused him of inadequate coverage of the WNBA.

McNutt, a former collegiate basketball player at Georgetown before becoming a sports analyst for ESPN and the MSG (Madison Square Garden) Network, asserted that Smith did not bother to cover the WNBA three years ago when it deserved it. She also communicated her irritation at seeing the first topic of “First Take” on Monday, June 3, was the ubiquitous video clip of WNBA player Chennedy Carter shoving America’s “golden girl” Caitlin Clark to the ground.

“Stephen A., respectfully, with your platform, you could have been doing this three years ago if you wanted to. .. I’m talking to you about the power that you have. I’m talking to you,” McNutt said on the air, which almost incited Smith to have a conniption on live TV. 

Smith fired back at McNutt, asking, “Who talks about the WNBA? Who talks about women? Who talks about women’s sports more than ‘First Take’?”

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At the end of their contentious, 40-minute exchange, which included part-time co-host Shannon Sharpe), Smith looked like he was about to explode from anger as he glared at the camera in disbelief.

Instead, Smith chose to release his molten lava-level thoughts on his podcast later that day, implying that he made McNutt famous along with other female sports analysts at ESPN.

Stephen A. Smith defends his record of covering women’s sports

“You ever heard of Monica McNutt? You have now. Because she is on ‘First Take’ a lot,” Smith ranted on his personal podcast. “Chiney Ogwumike, absolutely wonderful, spectacular basketball analyst, etc. WNBA player in her own right. Ask her how it’s been to be on ‘First Take.’ How about Andrea Carter, who is a rising star in this business? How much do you think ‘First Take’ helped that? How about Kimberly Martin? What about Molly Qerim herself?” 

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Stephen A. Smith continued in his criticisms of Monica McNutt

“I have sat back for years and taken a lot of [expletive] from people, some who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about, some who act like they don’t know just because they want to get at me,” Smith said on the show.

“I could care less about people getting at me; I just want you to be accurate. And it is highly offensive to me when somebody implies or flat-out states [something] like Monica McNutt did this morning, which was factually incorrect.”

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