Reports surfaced on Thursday that 3-time Super Bowl champion Shannon Sharpe would be joining Stephen A. Smith on ESPN’s First Take after leaving FS1 due to a falling out with Skip Bayless. Shannon Sharpe would (will?) make an excellent addition to First Take if it happens, but Stephen A. Smith says ‘not so fast’ in his latest rant.
On the Stephen A. Smith Show, he addressed the report from Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, saying that nothing is finalized yet and any reports of Shannon Sharpe joining are premature.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) August 18, 2023
Stephen A. Smith can be heard saying:
“Sorry Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, it’s a bit premature. Shannon Sharpe has yet to sign on the dotted line to be a member of First Take. It has not happened yet. I’m still confident it will happen. I still believe it will happen. I think it needs to happen. And I have no doubt I’m going to exhaust any means I have available to me to make it happen.”
Reading between the lines here, it seems like Stephen A. Smith wants to reserve the chance to announce the news himself as soon as later today.
It’s entirely possible that Stephen A. Smith didn’t like getting scooped on his own announcement when he has such a large media/social media presence. The man is on TV each day for longer than some people are awake, or so it seems. And Shannon Sharpe joining First Take would be huge news for him to announce.
Stephen saying “I believe it will happen” also certainly feels like he’s applying pressure on one or both sides. It’s unclear why the contracts haven’t been signed yet, if what Stephen A. Smith is saying is true, but applying this public pressure to either side to speed up the process could lead to an announcement today.