Stephen A. Smith Breaks Silence On Shannon Sharpe, 'First Take' Rumors

By Jason Hall

July 21, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

Longtime ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith wants Shannon Sharpe on First Take amid rumors that the Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end and former FS1 analyst was being targeted to be an addition to the show's rotating cast of Smith's debate partners.

“Make no mistake about it, I’m not apologizing to a damn show. I want Shannon Sharpe on First Take and I aim to get him,” Smith said in a post shared on his social media accounts. “We are talking to him and I am hopeful, very hopeful and very confident that ultimately we will be announcing sooner than later that he will be on First Take."

Smith then acknowledged that he wouldn't hold back on his interest despite the two sides still being in the negotiation process.

"All this politically correct stuff and being quiet, I want Shannon Sharpe on First Take. Okay? PERIOD!” Smith said.

Sharpe had previously been a fixture on of FS1's sports debate show Skip and Shannon: Undisputed opposite Smith's longtime former First Take debate opponent Skip Bayless since 2016. The legendary tight end announced his intention to leave FOX Sports in May after reaching an agreement on a buyout, appearing on his final episode of Undisputed in June.

“I want this brother at First Take. I want him as a part of the ESPN family. And I want him to have a shinier light placed on him than a few of the times that we last saw him,” he added. “I’m not throwing shade on anybody, especially not him and especially not my man Skip Bayless. But what happened, happened, it was for public consumption.”

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