Love Him or Hate Him, Stephen A. Smith Deserves His Money

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On Friday, a tweet set off a flurry of comments and critiques about ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

“Per sources: Stephen A. Smith is around $12 million annually in total comp.,” tweeted Richard Deitsch.

A harmless, matter-of-fact statement about ESPN’s star personality.

“As always (in my opinion) you are worth what a company will pay you,” Deitsch wrote in a subsequent tweet.

Nothing malicious or judgmental. Yet that single tweet ignited a social media debate over Stephen A. Smith’s value.

Some compared his contract to other ESPN talent and NHL players. Others ripped them for signing someone who does nothing but screams on air. One equated him to Bobby Bonilla, who famously gets paid $1.19 million by the Mets every July 1st through 2035 (the payments commenced in 2011). A few introduced Maria Taylor into the discussion as her contract expires on July 20th, the scheduled day of Game 6 of the NBA Finals. The New York Post reported that ESPN offered her a contract of $3 million per year.

Reportedly, she’s seeking Stephen A.-type money.

Some defended Smith, stating he deserves it. That he should get his and “secure the bag.” Others addressed the issue of race and how people didn’t complain when Tony Romo signed a reported 10-year, $175 – $180 million deal. If all incentives are met, he would receive $18 million annually.

Continue reading over at First and Pen.

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