Stephen A. Smith says Pat McAfee doesn't have to be 'as polished politically as me' because he's white


Since Pat McAfee joined ESPN, he has grown a large number of both supporters and critics — the latter of which apparently includes one of his own bosses at the network.

In fact, McAfee went as far to say that he had been “canceled by both parties” in the wake of the Aaron Rodgers-Jimmy Kimmel-Jeffrey Epstein saga.

McAfee joined ESPN last year on an $85 million contract where he cohosted “College GameDay” in 2023 (he’s unsure of his future there) and has been a contributor on “First Take,” but his own show is broadcast on the network each day, and that has what had most of his viral, and notorious, moments.

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Pat McAfee in 2022

Pat McAfee points towards fans while walking on the 18th fairway during Round One of the 2022 American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course on July 8, 2022 in Stateline, Nevada. (Isaiah Vazquez/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images)

The main “First Take” host in Stephen A. Smith called McAfee “a sensational talent” recently, and described qualities he “loves” about him.

“I love Pat McAfee. Love him to death. I love his swag, I love the fact that he’s an honest brother. He don’t give a s—. You know exactly where he stands. That’s my kind of dude. That works for me,” Stephen A. said on the “Bussin’ With The Boys” podcast with former Tennessee Titan Taylor Lewan.

But Smith said there is quite a difference between the two. Smith said he is more “polished politically” than McAfee for two reasons, one of them being race.

Pat McAfee at national championship

Pat McAfee brought his show to ESPN last year.  (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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“Because he has no desire to be, No. 1,” Smith said. “And No.2, if we’re being honest, he’s white, and I’m Black; he doesn’t have to be. I had to be. So I get all of that, and I’m not knocking him for it.”

But furthermore, Smith called McAfee a “pioneer” in the media entertainment business due to his digital success, putting his name along with Bill Simmons and Joe Rogan.

“Don’t get it twisted — I love Pat, he knows that, I’ll do anything to help him,” Smith said.

Pat McAfee at the 'Quarterback' premiere

Pat McAfee attends the Los Angeles Premiere Of Netflix’s “Quarterback” at TUDUM Theater on July 11, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (JC Olivera/Getty Images)

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Smith’s contract with ESPN is reportedly up later this year.

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