Stephen A. Smith On His Bizarre Status With The Philadelphia Inquirer

December 1, 2009 – 9:20 am by Michael Bean

From 2005 to 2007, Stephen A. Smith was arguably the biggest name in the sports media lanscape.  He had a TV show on ESPN2, a daily radio show on ESPN Radio New York, a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, and still was the main NBA reporter on TV for all of the ESPN properties. Within 20 months, all of his jobs were gone.  On January 23rd, 2008 Stephen A. Smith was fired from the Philadelphia Inquirer for what was labeled “job abandonment”.  ESPN grew tired of his act and was let go from the network as of May 1, 2009.

For the past six months, Stephen A. has tried to reinvent himself as a political commentator who is also called upon to discuss sensitive racial issues.  While Stephen A. still kept his name out there through the variety of political shows, I don’t think he’ll ever have the same stature in that world as he once held in the sports world.  Now, the slow climb back into the public consciousness of the sports fan has started.  He was recently hired by Fox Sports Radio to be their national NBA reporter.  And after close to two years of the union fighting on his behalf, Stephen A. Smith was reinstated to the Philadelphia Inquirer effective November 12th.  Yet, they won’t publish any of his columns and wouldn’t run his breaking news of Allen Iverson’s contrived retirement.  Find out why below.

Stephen A. Smith joined 97.5 the Fanatic in Philadelphiaand was initially brought on the show to talk about what he knows about the Allen Iverson returning to the Sixers situation (Note:  This was before the talk of the meeting in Dallas with the Sixers and Iverson went down).   The interview ended with the fascinating details regarding his own employment situation with the Philadelphia Inquirer..

On being reinstated by the Philadelphia Inquirer (his old newspaper gig), and on how he’s not yet being published by the paper for legal reasons that he elaborates on:

“November 12th, after three separate rulings by an arbitrator in my favor, I was reinstated at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Reinstated as a full time employee, paid, full benefits, the whole thing. That afternoon, The Inquirer came and said, we are not publishing any of your columns until you agree to sign a code of ethics policy that I have never seen in my life, you understand. And I was never made privy to until that afternoon. It is something that I don’t intend to agree with. They can call it a code of ethics if they want to, I don’t intend to agree with it. I have my lawyers, I have my union officials. We filed a grievance on that matter, it’s being addressed, and they’re saying until I capitulate to those demands, they will not publish my columns. So about a week later, I got tipped off about the Allen Iverson story, I called the Philadelphia Inquirer, I informed them that I had a big story involving Iverson. And I said, I’m an employee of yours, I work for you again, the story’s yours. And they said, no, we are not publishing your work until you agree to this policy. So I said fine, I put it on my website. And since I’m the new nationally syndicated host for FOX Sports Radio which we begin next month, FOX Sports said we’ll print it. Can we get it? We’ll print it. And I gave it to them. That’s the story.”

On what the specifics of what the Inquirer is demanding that he disagrees with:

“It’s really about not appearing on television on anything unrelated to sports. That’s their position. Like I said, I haven’t had the opportunity – you’d have to ask the union officials about some more of the specifics about that. I left it up to them, because I have no problem with any policy that’s already been in place that everybody has to fall under. My issue is making sure that I’m being treated fairly, you understand? And if I’m not treated fairly, you’ve known me long enough to know that I’m not going to stand by and take anybody mistreating me in a manner they’re not treating anybody else. That’s me. That’s the way that I’ve been and I’m not going to change.”

Listen here to Smith with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 the Fanatic in Philadelphia

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