Michael Smith and former NFL defensive end Hugh Douglas acted as adversaries on the ESPN show Numbers Never Lie, but after their on-screen relationship led to a public altercation, the network reportedly made the decision to part ways with Douglas.
According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, Douglas is no longer an employee of ESPN:
Hugh Douglas no longer works for ESPN. Details to come on http://t.co/37kDSmc79I shortly.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) August 13, 2013
Douglas subsequently expressed his thoughts about the situation on Twitter:
I am very disappointed to be leaving ESPN and will have more to say about this situation and my future at the appropriate time— Hugh Douglas (@Bighugh53) August 13, 2013
This move stems from an incident that reportedly occurred a couple weeks ago. According to Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead, Douglas instigated a situation with his co-host Smith at an Orlando party on Aug. 2.
An inebriated Douglas allegedly threatened to attack Smith on three occasions when Smith refused to help him get on the DJ stage at the Orlando House of Blues. The incident didn't stop there, as Douglas reportedly threw racial slurs toward Smith, calling him an “Uncle Tom” and a “House N—-,” per McIntyre's report.
An ESPN representative who witnessed the incident reportedly spoke with Douglas, which prompted Douglas to leave the establishment.
Douglas had been held off Numbers Never Lie since the alleged altercation. According to Deitsch, an ESPN spokesperson made the move official through a brief statement: "He no longer works for us effective today."
Numbers Never Lie is similar to First Take, an ESPN show that has been popularized by Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. Bayless and Smith debate the biggest topics in sports and lead in to Numbers Never Lie, which takes a more statistical approach to similar topics.
Douglas often acted as Smith's foil on Numbers Never Lie, as the former Philadelphia Eagle, New York Jet and Jacksonville Jaguar tended to take a contrarian point of view on many topics.
ESPN hasn't issued a statement regarding Numbers Never Lie, but it has continued in Douglas' absence and figures to remain in the ESPN lineup now that Douglas has been let go.
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