Last month, ESPN reported that it was laying off 300 employees across all of its business and would not be filling the 200 open positions that were open at the time of the announcement.
Like many other businesses, sports-centric and otherwise, ESPN and its parent company Disney have seen their overall revenue take a big hit thanks to the ongoing pandemic in America.
The NBA schedule being affected by the pandemic, going on hiatus before finally finishing the 2019-2020 season in a bubble, plus the fact that the league won’t begin its 2020-2021 season until December 22nd when it would normally begin in late October, is one of the biggest factors in ESPN’s decreased revenue.
As a result of the layoffs, employees like longtime host Trey Wingo, ESPN soccer reporter Stefano Fusaro, and Katie Nolan’s producer and co-host, Ashley Braband, lost their jobs.
On Monday, one sports fan on Twitter directed his anger with the layoffs at Smith, blaming him and his high salary for other people losing their jobs.
“ESPN laying off talented people to pay for fat salaries like Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman to embarrass the platform is saddening,” wrote the fan in a since-hidden tweet.
Smith took great exception to being blamed for the layoffs at ESPN and fired back with a tweet of his own.
“You might be able to get over it if you’d done your damn homework,” Smith shot back. “I generate revenue clown. I bring money to help KEEP JOBS, not lose them. Know who the F&^%$ you’re talking about before opening your mouth. If you didn’t know you should’ve asked somebody.”
You might be able to get over it if you'd done your damn homework. I generate revenue clown. I bring money to help KEEP JOBS, not lose them. Know who the F&^%$ you're talking about before opening your mouth. If you didn't know you should've asked somebody. https://t.co/vSaE7BDBJe
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) December 7, 2020
Smith may have a point there. If he didn’t bring in enough money to pay his salary, ESPN certainly wouldn’t be paying him that much, right?
Reactions to Smith’s fiery response were for the most part in favor of the vociferous sports talk show host.
Stephen A. is the college athletics equivalent of football and basketball that generate so much revenue on their own that they make less fiscally viable sports possible to have. This isn't an overpaid QB making it impossible to get other players because of a prohibitive salary.— Teth-Adam (@ZechsLuthor) December 7, 2020
Yea I agree. Like him or not, it appears when ESPN needs someone to work an event S.A.S. seems like the first person they call. And it seems like he always answers that call. Dude is all over that network. He definitely earns his pay.— StandOut Sean (@StandOutSean) December 7, 2020
This man deserves every dollar he is paid!!! You may not agree with what he has to say all the time but he brings it every day and works his ass off— Wizzard (@BrianWiz69) December 7, 2020
You completely missed his point. If you generate revenue and reduce exorbitant spending (your $3 million salary), the company would have more money to retain other talent. I’d love to debate this with you @stephenasmith. Bring me on your show— Danny Leland (@dannyleland) December 7, 2020
Coming from the same person, that said QBs should take a pay cut so they can have better Oline, defense or receivers 😂— Jeri Tsai (@JeriTsaiNets) December 7, 2020
"I want $2m more each year"— Nickgb (@Nickgb) December 7, 2020
"Because I'm so good at bringing in money and keeping people employed"
"But we just laid off hundreds of people..."
"That's because you weren't paying me enough to unleash my full job keeping potential..."
Idc one way or the other with the actual argument, but this response makes it sound like anyone who was laid off just sat there all day twiddling their thumbs waiting for Stephen A. to generate enough revenue for them to get paid, like they didnt do anything to help.— JKIZZ3L (@JKimble1) December 7, 2020
Like I said, for the most part.