Hugh Douglas, an ESPN host and former Philadelphia Eagles player, reportedly called black ESPN co-host Michael Smith a “House [N-word]” and an “Uncle Tom” last Friday at an event hosted by the National Association of Black Journalists in Orlando, Florida.
Three “independent sources” verified the incident to the sports website The Big Lead, which has had a track record of breaking stories about ESPN.
After Riley Cooper was caught on tape saying, “I’ll fight every [N-word] here, bro,” at a Kenny Chesney concert last month, Douglas blistered him, saying on ESPN that Cooper was only sorry he got caught. He also tweeted:
S/O to Riley Cooper.. For keepin it 100.. At least now we know!
At the event at the House of Blues, Douglas, like Cooper, was reportedly “inebriated and threatened to beat up his colleague Michael Smith three times” after Smith tried to stop the drunk Douglas from trying to get on a “stage where the DJ was playing”:
After the third threat, Smith tried to walk away, at which point Douglas grabbed Smith’s wrist and hurled two racial epithets at him, calling him an “Uncle Tom” and a “House N—.” Smith, the witness says, turned around to protect himself, at which point onlookers rushed in to break it up.
Douglas was “then pulled aside by someone from ESPN who was in attendance, and the two briefly spoke. Douglas then left the party.” Douglas has been taken off the air until the situation is resolved. Smith, who has returned to the air, has not commented on the incident.
A NABJ official told The Big Lead, “we’re confident that ESPN will handle the situation in an appropriate manner.” The event was held to raise money for scholarship funds.
The day before at the conference, Douglas, who is reportedly jealous that Smith is close friends with Jemele Hill, a female “Numbers Never Lie” co-host, tried to interrupt Smith and Hill as they were “talking to a couple hundred association members at a hotel about the pair’s online podcast, ‘His and Hers with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill,’ when Douglas showed up looking for a piece of the action.”
According to Deadspin, as Hill “was just about to finish speaking to the group of 100-plus, Douglas came up to her, and demanded the microphone, even though he wasn’t scheduled to speak at the event. He might have been slurring, and he was certainly talking loud enough for others to hear it.”
“Hill said no thanks. She apparently had to make some effort to keep the mic out of his hands,” the outlet reported. “Douglas was not happy, and neither were Hill and Smith.”
Douglas then reportedly slurred Smith the next night.