Blog by: George Thomas and Ron Ledgard
Details have emerged related to the verbal altercation that occurred between ESPN co-workers Hugh Douglas and Michael Smith, co-hosts of the ESPN's Numbers Never Lie at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney this past weekend.
Sources told Ohio.com that 6-foot-, 280 lbs. Hugh Douglas initiated the incident which took place amidst a V.I.P. section of a party that raises money for the National Association of Black Journalists Sports Task Force Scholarship, an event that was a part of the larger NABJ convention that the organization held at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
Douglas, who is better known for his football skills than journalistic acumen, was attending the convention with Smith and Jemele Hill, both who are respected sports journalists. He apparently made his rather substantial presence known to those in attendance in a story first broken by bigleadsports.com
According to the source, his behavior at best was “unprofessional” as he appeared to have too much to drink on more than one occasion.
On Thursday he took the microphone of of co-workers Smith and Hill who were trying to do an on-site podcast. The trio appear on Numbers Don't Lie together. Friday during the day he interrupted Smith on more than one occasion as he offered advice to would-be journalists seeking his counsel.
“I’m trying to get lunch,” he apparently said to Smith.
Things only sunk to lower depths from there as at the V.I.P. party, an event where people donated as much as $750 to the Sports Task Force’s scholarship fund. The group comped Douglas the $100 ticket for the event and he offered a donation of fewer than $10.
Later in the evening House of Blues personnel had to prevent Douglas from going on stage to grab the microphone at the event. That’s when Smith stepped in to try to save his co-worker further embarrassment to no avail.
Douglas then proceeded to tell Smith: “I’ll (eff) you up,” several times according to the source.
Douglas then grabbed his arm as he tried to walk away and Smith turned looking to defend himself. No blows were exchanged and the incident ended.
This is the eighth year the NABJ’s Sports Task Force hosted the party to benefit its scholarship fund. In that span there have been no other incidents. They flew this year’s winner, a San Diego State student to the convention and covered all of her expenses.
Douglas did not appear on Monday's broadcast of Numbers Don't Lie, according to profootballtalk.com.
ESPN released a statment to bigleadsports: "We are aware there was a disagreement between Hugh Douglas and Michael Smith on Friday. We are looking into the situation."