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Ryan Clark Was Ready To Fight Stephen A. Smith On First Take

“The bout never happened at the Bristol, Conn. campus, and the two have fostered a cordial working relationship after Smith apologized to Clark for the comments.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Getty Images

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Clark have built a strong working relationship over their time working together at ESPN, but it wasn’t all lollipops and rainbows during the first few interactions between the two.

Clark appeared on the Bussin’ With The Boys podcast this week to discuss his career with NFL players Taylor Lewan and Will Compton. Clark described one of his first times meeting Smith.

“Stephen A. was talking about how athletes want his job, and they don’t have degrees,” Clark said on the show. The LSU mass communications graduate was eager to use his schooling at ESPN and teach his new co-worker a lesson. 

“I can do your job, I do have a degree, and my hairline ain’t pushed back,” Clark recalled saying on First Take. Smith was off the day Clark filled in, but he heard all about the exchange and was ready to respond. Smith returned to First Take the following day and hammered Clark for his comments, concluding with, “as for anything else, Ryan Clark knows what he can kiss.”

Clark took those comments as fighting words from the highest-paid media personality at ESPN.

“Oh, Stephen A. Smith wants to fight me? I’m gonna whip him. Straight up,” Clark told a First Take producer at the time. “All the other stuff was cool, but the man’s gonna tell me to kiss his A-S-S? That means he wants to fight me.”

The bout never happened at the Bristol, Conn. campus, and the two have fostered a cordial working relationship after Smith apologized to Clark for the comments.

“Sometimes you gotta let people know that you’re a little thrown off if you are a little thrown off,” Clark said. “Because it helps you help them, to not do anything that’s gonna get them in a fight with you.”

With Max Kellerman possibly on the way out of the First Take set, maybe Clark will be a more frequent adversary for Smith on the debate desk.

Sports TV News

Kathryn Tappen Joining NBC’s Big Ten Coverage

“Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.”

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NBC has tabbed Kathryn Tappen as its sideline reporter for the network’s upcoming coverage of Big Ten football, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

According to Marchand, Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.

Tappen has hosted Notre Dame football’s studio coverage and Peacock Sunday Night Football Final. She also worked as NBC’s lead interviewer for its coverage of the PGA Tour, but left that broadcast team at the end of 2022 as part of the network’s larger shakeup of its golf coverage.

The appointment of Kathryn Tappen conceivably concludes the Big Ten on NBC broadcast crew. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge are expected to pair as the network’s play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. NBC has yet to officially unveil its coverage plans for the 2023 college football season.

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Sports TV News

Peter King: Sean McVay Wants to be a Star, ‘Not Just Some Guy on TV’

“I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

Jordan Bondurant

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L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay will remain at his post for the 2023-24 season. The team tweeted that news Friday afternoon, seeming to, at least for now, put the rumors of McVay leaving coaching for a TV job to rest.

ProFootballTalk’s Peter King wrote in Football Morning in America on Monday that McVay understands the kind of position on television he’s looking for may not necessarily be there for him.

“I don’t think that was the only thing about TV that appealed to him, but I don’t think McVay was interested in being Just a Guy on TV,” King wrote. “I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

King noted that McVay has been told to “Do what makes you happy” by folks with the Rams. He also said he believes coaching is what Makes McVay happy. Especially with a chance to shake up his coaching staff and being involved in trying to bring the team back from a 5-12 season in their follow-up campaign to winning the Super Bowl.

“He wants to be challenged, and this staff wasn’t doing it,” King said. “Offensive coordinator Liam Coen may not have been what McVay wanted in an OC—a coach who would challenge him and bring new ideas to him—and that could be why he’s going back to the University of Kentucky as a coordinator.”

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Sports TV News

Lisa Salters Makes Monday Night Football History Completing 11th Season on Sideline

“Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Monday night’s Cowboys/Bucs wild card playoff game set a new milestone for ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

The network tweeted that Salters completed her 11th season in that role. That makes her the longest tenured reporter in Monday Night Football history.

Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.

“When I first got the call to do Monday Night Football, I would have never thought that 10 years later I would still be doing it,” Salters said last year in a video reminiscing on ten years on Monday Night Football. “I was at home and I got a phone call from my boss Vince Doria and he said, ‘Hey, I was wondering if you would be interested in being a sideline reporter for Monday Night Football‘, and I couldn’t believe what he just asked me.”

Salters is also featured on network coverage of the NBA, something she’s been doing since 2005.

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