A new report has shed light on the events that led up to last Friday’s alleged verbal altercation between ESPN’s “Numbers Never Lie” hosts Hugh Douglas and Michael Smith at a party in Orlando, Fla.
Witnesses said tensions between the two “Numbers Never Lie” hosts began to rise last Thursday night at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention and Career Fair in Orlando, Deadspin reports. Smith, along with fellow “Numbers Never Lie” co-host Jemele Hill, was reportedly speaking to “hundreds of conventioneers” when Douglas attempted to join them on stage.
Multiple sources report that Douglas was “wasted” when he approached Smith and Hill, demanding to be given a microphone so he could address the crowd, Deadspin reports. The sources added that Douglas has “felt uncomfortable” ever since Hill became the third host of ESPN’s “Numbers Never Lie” series. Apparently, the combination of Smith and Hill, both longtime print journalists and old friends, caused Douglas, a former pro football player, to feel “outnumbered” and “left out” on the show.
While the sources were unsure if Douglas was “slurring” his words, his attempt to grab the microphone was enough to draw attention from conventioneers, Deadspin reports. When Hill refused to let Douglas speak, she reportedly had to “make some effort” to keep him from taking the microphone by force. All three hosts reportedly were “not happy” about the situation.
The alleged feud escalated on Friday night, when the “Numbers Never Lie” hosts all attended a party at the House of Blues in Orlando. According to Deadspin’s sources, Douglas was once again “very drunk” and headed toward the club’s stage to make some sort of announcement. Smith, who stayed sober, allegedly told Douglas not to go up to the stage, prompting an angry outburst from Douglas.
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Deadspin's sources claim that an inebriated Douglas called Smith an “Uncle Tom.” Smith attempted to ignore Douglas’ comments, prompting the former football star to grab his arm and threaten "to beat him up.” The situation reportedly grew so tense that security had to break the men up.
An ESPN spokesperson commented on the altercation on Monday, explaining that the company was “aware there was a disagreement between Hugh Douglas and Michael Smith on Friday” and that they were looking into it. Meanwhile, Douglas told Deadspin’s John Koblin, “I just can’t comment on this.”