Former Philadelphia Eagles lineman and current ESPN commentator Hugh Douglas is in hot water for allegedly insulting his colleague Michael Smith with racial slurs while at a party last Friday in Orlando, Florida.
According to the sports blog Deadspin, Douglas has grown increasingly uncomfortable being paired with Smith and Jemele Hill as co-hosts of ESPN’s “Numbers Never Lie” statistics show as the only former athlete on the show.
The Douglas-Smith confrontation, which took place at a fund-raising party for college scholarships sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalists, had its beginnings the day before at a NABJ convention event which both Smith and Hill were addressing. According to Deadspin’s sources, Douglas, who was not scheduled to speak then, showed up drunk and demanded that Hill give him the microphone. She refused, apparently with “some effort,” according to the sports blog.
Douglas’s resentment bubbled up the next evening at the fund-raiser:
[Douglas] was trying to get on stage where the DJ was playing, and threatened to beat up Smith if he couldn’t help out. 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.
Three independent sources have verified this version of events.
Douglas was then pulled aside by someone from ESPN who was in attendance, and the two briefly spoke. Douglas then left the party.
Since the incident, Douglas has not been back on the show nor has he tweeted.
This is not the first ugly incident of a black ESPN commentator throwing out racial slurs against a fellow black person. In December of last year, commentator Rob Parker provoked national outrage after he claimed that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin was a “cornball brother” who was only “kind of black” because he is married to a white woman and is rumored to be a Republican. He was let go by the sports channel shortly after his comments were made.