What’s Up With Not Mentioning Max? | Stephen A. Smith Doesn’t Mention Former Co-Host Max Kellerman Amongst Colleagues Laid Off By ESPN

Last weekend ESPN laid off 20 on-air personalities as part of a massive 7,000 employee layoff.

One of those laid off was popular talking head Max Kellerman, the former co-host of ESPN’s “First Take” opposite of Stephen A. Smith.

For those who don’t know, Smith personally had Kellerman removed from the show in 2021, after five years. Kellerman replaced Smith’s good friend Skip Bayless, who left ESPN for Fox Sports and “Undisputed.”

As Smith talked about his colleagues being laid off on “The Stephen A Smith Show,” podcast, he never once mentioned Kellerman, whom he worked with closely for five years. Maybe it was by design, as there’s reportedly no love lost between the two former daily debaters. But still, that’s cold for Smith to not even acknowledge him in his remarks.

Since Kellerman left “First Take,” he’d dabbled in various roles at the network, from a morning radio host slot with NBA analyst Jay Williams and NFL analyst Keyshawn Johnson. That show was canceled one week prior to Kellerman being let go, in fact, Johnson was let go as well. 

Did SAS Comments Following Kellerman’s Removal In 2021 Play A Role In Fractured Relationship? 

Following Kellerman’s exit, which SAS was adamant that he definitely played a role in, some of his comments were a bit abrasive. During an appearance on “The Dan Le Batard Show” earlier this year, Smith was pretty vocal as to why things ended how they did with he and Max.

“It was about that a debate show requires certain things that I believe did he did not bring to the table when it came to sitting opposite of me.” 

“As far as I’m concerned, Max Kellerman and I did not work for me,” he added. “It was not a show I wanted to be a part of.”

And what SAS wants, he pretty much gets as the face of the network. 

Smith Warns Of More Layoffs Coming, Says He Could Be Next, Really? 

As Smith spoke of all the moves made by ESPN/Disney on his show, he was also quick to remind everyone that this is only the tip-of-the-iceberg as it pertains to layoffs. The loquacious Smith even said it could happen to him.

“But if we’re going to be real about it. Let’s deal with reality. This ain’t the end. More is coming. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, I could be next.”

“And one thing that I can tell you about Stephen A., is this ain’t 2009. I really didn’t see it coming. My eyes are always wide open now. I’m never comfortable. I never take anything for granted, and I never assume that I’m safe.”

Smith’s words are smart way to look at it, but if anyone is safe it’s likely him. Despite his pretty big salary of reportedly $8 million per year, Smith is too valuable a brand to ESPN as of now. He transcends the sports world and is a celebrity first. Maybe that changes in a year or so, or when his contract expires in 2025. By that time, he’ll be ready to go out on his own if he so desires. 

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