Hugh Douglas let go by ESPN after alleged altercation with colleague Michael Smith
Former Philadelphia Eagle defensive lineman Hugh Douglas is also now a former employee of ESPN after being let go by the Worldwide Leader, according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com.
The decision to let Douglas go comes just nine days after TheBigLead reported he, and Numbers Never Lie co-host were involved in some sort of verbal confrontation while appearing at a convention in Orlando:
Hugh Douglas and Michael Smith, two thirds of ESPN’s afternoon TV show, Numbers Never Lie, were involved in a heated verbal altercation Friday night at a party in Orlando, three sources who witnessed the incident exclusively tell the Big Lead.
Douglas and Smith, both in Orlando for the National Association of Black Journalists convention, were attending a Sports Task Force party at the House of Blues when tensions rose and the pair had to be separated, sources said.
Two days later, Deadspin reported an additional incident between Douglas and Smith just one night after the original incident cited by TheBigLead. According to the Deadspin report, Douglas was not only highly intoxicated, but also called Smith an “Uncle Tom” at some point during their disagreement:
The next night, there was a party at the club, House of Blues, in Orlando. Douglas was, again, very drunk. Lots of people were drinking, so this was less of a big deal, but then he started making some movements toward the stage at the club… One person told us that Smith—who wasn’t drinking—told Douglas not to go up. It would be a mistake. Douglas apparently wasn’t in a state to be reasoned with. He didn’t go up there, but a few minutes later, Douglas was angry enough to finally tell Smith off.
“Uncle Tom,” Douglas told Smith, according to two people familiar with the altercation. Smith apparently did his best to ignore this. Shortly thereafter, Douglas had more words to say to Smith. He grabbed him by his arm. He threatened to beat him up. Some people, including security, had to break it up.
The report goes on to say that Douglas allegedly has been growing uncomfortable with his role on Numbers Never Lie after the addition of Smith’s longtime friend and fellow journalist, Jemele Hill. Whatever the reason, there is no excuse to represent yourself in this fashion publicly, and to blatantly disrespect a colleague in this manner.
However, we must note that we have yet to hear Douglas’ side of the story, which will most likely be coming in the next few days.
As for Smith and Numbers Never Lie, they are at an impasse of where they want to go with the show from here. On one hand, ESPN could simply replace Douglas with the plethora of former players ESPN has on staff, like Jalen Rose, and continue their course. However, this also may be an opportune time for the show to go back to its roots, and grab a more stat-minded co-host, like the newly acquired Nate Silver, as the Deadspin report also suggests.
By: Frank Santos- Sports-Kings Co-Founder