ESPN has reportedly decided to fire “Numbers Never Lie” host Hugh Douglas after his alleged drunken confrontation with colleague Michael Smith at a party in Orlando.
An ESPN spokesperson confirmed to Sports Illustrated on Tuesday that Douglas was to be fired after the incident, during which he allegedly called Smith an “Uncle Tom” and threatened to beat him up. “He no longer works for us effective today,” the spokesperson told Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch. The spokesperson did not go into detail as to why ESPN had decided to fire Douglas.
Multiple outlets reported on Aug. 4 that Douglas and Smith, co-hosts of ESPN’s “Numbers Never Lie” show, had “nearly come to blows” after a heated disagreement. The television personalities were both in Orlando to attend the National Association of Black Journalists convention.
Sources told Deadspin that the issues between Douglas and Smith began on Thursday, Aug. 1, when the “Numbers Never Lie” hosts spoke on a panel in front of “hundreds of conventioneers.” According to the sources, Smith and fellow ESPN personality Jemele Hill were addressing the crowd when an allegedly inebriated Douglas attempted to join them onstage.
According to Deadspin’s report, Douglas was “wasted” and demanded that Hill hand him a microphone. When she refused, Douglas reportedly attempted to grab the microphone out of her hands with such force that Hill had to “make some effort” to stop him. The incident allegedly caused a rift between the three “Numbers Never Lie” hosts, all three of whom were “not happy” about the situation.
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The disagreement between Douglas and Smith escalated the next night, when the ESPN hosts attended a party at the House of Blues in Orlando. Sources claimed that Douglas was once again “very drunk” when he made his way over to a DJ booth in an apparent bid to address the bar’s patrons. Smith, who was sober, allegedly told Douglas not to go near the stage, as doing so would be a “mistake,” Deadspin reported.
Smith’s comment reportedly angered Douglas, who allegedly responded by calling his colleague an “Uncle Tom.” When Smith tried to ignore the insult, Douglas purportedly grabbed his arm and threatened “to beat him up.” The situation escalated to the point that security had to break up the fight.