It was just a matter of time before Michael Smith would make his exit from ESPN, after the host spoke out last month saying he was pissed about the show’s treatment of former co-host Jemele Hill.
Smith is leaving ESPN’s Sportscenter, according to Sports Illustrated.
Jemele Hill now works for ESPN’s digital platform The Undefeated.
Michael Smith says he noticed before Jemele Hill’s exit that the network was deliberately changing the vision of the show with less camera time for the duo.
“There was a time we weren’t even talking to each other [on air] anymore,” Smith said on the podcast Origins. “Like no more Michael and Jemele, not less, not here and there. No more Michael and Jemele talking. No more of their commentary. It’s just strictly live shots and analysts. That’s what pissed me off so much.”
Michael Smith also added, “I’m like, so wait a second, you all acknowledge that one of the strengths that we have going for us as a show is Michael and Jemele’s chemistry, but Michael and Jemele don’t f–king talk to each other? How does that make sense?”
What’s more, Smith says that while he and Hill expected to “get sh*t out of the gate,” he admits that rather than pushing back on the powers that be about their vision for the show, they instead “tried to merge two things.”
That, he says, didn’t work.
“It was very frustrating,” Smith added, “behind the scenes and on camera. … They got what they wanted, which was Michael and Jemele being muted. And that frustrated the s–t out of us.”