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Stephen A. Smith is the most important person at the Super Bowl!

Feb 8, 2010, 2:00 PM EDT

Do not jostle Stephen A. Smith! He will not sign body parts! Possibly the finest columnist that the Philadelphia Inquirer was ever forced to rehire due to binding arbitration, our hero made his triumphant return to the Super Bowl on Sunday — on the Inquirer’s dime — and proceeded to do what Stephen A. Smith does so well. Make himself the story. And if you don’t happen to notice him, he’ll make sure to remind you on Twitter that Stephen A. Smith is very important. But the fun didn’t stop with the “Police Escort.” (Love the capitalization).

A tweet from Ian Rapoport, the Patriots beat writer for the Boston Herald :

An amazing thing to see Stephen A. interrupt interviews last night to hug players in mid-sentence. Outstanding!

Although Smith was reinstated to the Inquirer in November (Nov. 12 at noon, he tells us on his blog), this is his first column in the Inquirer in more than two years. At the heart of the new dispute was the Inquirer’s insistence that Smith remove political opinions from his Web site and agree to stop appearing on cable political news shows. Smith has agreed to this — for now — and as a result the Inquirer has agreed to start printing his columns. From Richard Prince’s blog for the Maynard Institute:

Smith’s Monday column, filed from New Orleans, was about the state of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, a team with a 19-31 record. “There’s absolutely nothing that tells the city of Philadelphia that this team is remotely capable of challenging for anything,” he wrote.

The reappearance of Smith’s column is the latest development in a dispute that began in August 2007, when Smith was demoted from sports columnist to general assignment reporter. The new editor, William R. Marimow, thought Smith was making too much money — $225,000 a year.

Smith refused to show up in a demoted status, then he was fired. In September, Smith and the Newspaper Guild won an arbitrator’s ruling that the Inquirer’s actions had violated its collective bargaining agreement with the Guild. Smith was ordered reinstated with back pay.

And now, he’s rolling into the Super Bowl with sirens blaring and hugging it out with Drew Brees. This truly is journalism’s golden age.
Stephen A. Smith: 76ers should be thinking draft pick [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Stephen A. Smith in Inquirer After 2-Year Feud [Journal-isms]

  1. Weed Against Speed - Feb 8, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    Thankfully, SAS left the Cheez Doodles® in his hotel room safe.