ESPN Host Hugh Douglas Out After N-Word Tirade

Network parts ways with former NFL star after “heated verbal altercation” with co-host earlier this month.

By Chris Hoenig

ESPN Host Hugh Douglas Out After N-Word Tirade

Douglas and Smith

Hugh Douglas, a former star for the Philadelphia Eagles, is out of a job with ESPN after an argument with one of his co-hosts in which he allegedly used racial slurs.

ESPN confirmed Tuesday that Douglas, a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro during his 10-year career, no longer works for the network, where he had been a co-host of and analyst on Numbers Never Lie. Douglas also confirmed the news with a tweet on Tuesday:

According to Deadspin, Douglas had two confrontations with his co-host, Michael Smith, at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention in Orlando earlier this month. The first came when Smith and fellow co-host Jemele Hill were speaking to convention goers and Douglas demanded the microphone.

The next night, Douglas reportedly tried to get on the stage at the House of Blues during a party at the club. When Smith tried to stop him, Douglas turned on his colleague, calling him an “Uncle Tom” and directing the N-word at him. After Douglas threatened to beat Smith up, security intervened and separated the duo.

Douglas never returned to the air at ESPN, which launched an investigation. ESPN is a unit of The Walt Disney Company,
No. 39 in the DiversityInc Top 50.

Network Takes a Stand

Douglas is not the first person to make racially insensitive comments at the network, and his predecessors have met a similar fate.

Last year, an editor was quickly fired after posting an insensitive headline—which included a slur commonly directed at people of Chinese descent—for a story on rising basketball star Jeremy Lin, whose parents are from Taiwan. Lin is one of the few Asian-Americans ever to play in the National Basketball Association.

Earlier this year, commentator Rob Parker was fired after making controversial remarks about Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III. Parker was initially suspended for 30 days, but ESPN ultimately opted not to renew his contract.

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