First Take has officially entered a new era, as the long-running ESPN show just welcomed a new contributor to its ranks. Fan-favorite pundit Shannon Sharpe, who once co-hosted FS1’s Undisputed alongside the equally outspoken Skip Bayless, has joined the program for the NFL season. Fans seem to be enjoying the interplay between Smith and Sharpe thus far, but they had all the jokes after the latter accidentally referred to his partner as “Skip.” It’s admittedly been chuckle worthy whenever it’s occurred but, since then, one can’t help but wonder how Smith feels about that. Well, wait no longer, because the media personality just opened up about it.
To be clear, Shannon Sharpe isn’t referring to his new on-air colleague in that way on purpose. Any time that he’s done it, it’s merely been a slip of the tongue, though fans can’t seem to help but call him out whenever it occurs. Stephen A. Smith, however, isn’t actually looking to chastise his co-worker for the slight slip-up. After Sharpe made the mistake again during the September 12th broadcast of First Take, Smith took to X (formerly Twitter) to clear the air. And he was very understanding when it came to the situation:
Will folks calm the F$&@ down please. The man worked with Skip for 2 1/2 hours every single weekday for 6 1/2 YEARS! I’m surprised he hasn’t called me Skip more. Honest mistake. Nobody is fazed this way! So long as he shows up to @FirstTake when I ask, we are good!#TRUST
That’s a gracious response – delivered in a way that only Stephen A. could articulate. He certainly brings up fair points, as his co-star did work with Skip Bayless, who used to work with Smith on the ESPN show. Kudos to the General Hospital alum for being so understanding. And if for some reason you need more proof of his feelings, you can look no further than the following clip from the broadcast:
Shannon keeps calling Stephen A. Smith “Skip” 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/C4UHxQ4gqFSeptember 12, 2023
Shannon Sharpe – a three-time Super Bowl winner and hall-of-fame former NFL player – made quite an impression during his years on Undisputed. He and his former co-host shared a lot of notable moments – some good and some not so good. One of the more unflattering moments was a squabble that occurred 45 seconds after the show began. (That situation was related to a controversial tweet Skip Bayless had shared around that time.) Ultimately Sharpe reached a buyout with Fox Sports in May 2023 and, in August, it was reported that he’d join First Take on Mondays and Tuesdays during the professional football season.
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He and Stephen A. Smith seem to be a match made in sports talk heaven, as they share similar qualities. Both have strong opinions and don’t mind weighing in on topics not explicitly related to sports. For example, Smith put out a seemingly controversial take on Rihanna and also caught flak for comments made about Kim Kardashian. Meanwhile, his esteemed colleague doesn’t mind dropping a NSFW joke or two, which was the case when Larsa Pippen discussed her sex life with ex-husband Scottie Pippen.
I think these two are going to co-exist quite nicely, if their first few episodes are any indication. It’s definitely possible that Shannon Sharpe could refer to Stephen A. Smith as “Skip” again. But based on what we know now, Smith won’t take any offense should it occur.