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Stephen A. Smith Addresses ESPN’s Recent Layoffs: “I Could Be Next”

After ESPN announced its layoffs,  Stephen A. Smith is wondering if he could be next on the chopping block.

Last week, the “First Take” anchor witnessed the termination of several notable colleagues, including Jalen Rose, Jeff Van Gundy, and Keyshawn Johnson. Earlier this week, Smith spoke out about the layoffs and the toll it’s taken on the industry.

“This ain’t the end. More is coming. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, I could be next,” Smith said on his show Monday.

According to Smith, his colleagues who were laid off deserved better, considering the current circumstances we are facing. The recent job cuts at ESPN are just part of a larger trend affecting numerous media companies, such as The Athletic, National Geographic, and CNN.

Smith pointed out that in February, Disney –the owner of ESPN– had already announced plans to lay off 7,000 employees throughout its various businesses. This led ESPN employees to anticipate potential cuts. However, a reliable source familiar with the staff reductions at the sports network informed CNN that ESPN’s layoffs were unrelated to Disney’s larger layoff plans.

Additionally, Smith briefly mentioned feeling uncomfortable about his job security and touched on the issue of race.

“Don’t ever, ever, ever in your life, as a Black person, take anything for granted,” he said. “I’ve told you before: When White folks catch a cold, Black folks catch pneumonia.”

Nevertheless, approximately 20 members of ESPN’s on-air talent pool were laid off. In addition to the individuals mentioned by Smith, the cuts also affected LaPhonso Ellis, an analyst for “College GameDay,” and Suzy Kolber, an NFL sideline reporter.

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