Monica McNutt Leaves Stephen A. Smith Stunned With ‘First Take’ Criticism

Smith tried to take credit for First Take’s WNBA coverage, but McNutt pushed back hard.
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1. You rarely see Stephen A. Smith left speechless, but that was the case on Monday morning’s episode of First Take thanks to panelist Monica McNutt.

After a discussion on Chennedy Carter’s cheap shot foul on Caitlin Clark that was the talk of the sports world over the weekend, Smith tried to take credit for his show giving extensive coverage to the WNBA.

McNutt, however, was not having it.

“Who talks about the WNBA, who talks about women’s sports more than First Take,” asked Stephen A.

McNutt was not having the revisionist history.

“Stephen A., respectfully, with your platform you could’ve been doing this three years ago if you wanted to,” replied McNutt.

This left Smith stunned and all he could muster was a pair of back-to-back “wows.”

A little back-and-forth followed:

McNutt: “You know you’re my guy…”

Smith: “Who does more than us?”

McNutt: “Stephen A., I’m talking to you. Don’t do that. I’m talking to you about the power than you have.”

Smith: “OK, OK. I got it. You’re my girl, but you missed a lot episodes of First Take. You missed a lot.”

McNutt: “Stephen A., three years ago you would not talk about the WNBA at this level. Don’t do that.”

It’s one thing for McNutt to disagree with Stephen A., but after he challenged her, she doubled down and didn’t back down. That was impressive.

Sadly, moderator Molly Qerim cut off the discussion, which could’ve been riveting television of McNutt and Smith continued to argue over First Take’s coverage of the WNBA.

I don’t want to paint the media with one brush, but as someone who covers this stuff, I’d say 99% of sprots media, including First Take, did not cover the WNBA the way they’re covering it now. And even now, they’re not covering the WNBA.

They’re covering Caitlin Clark.

2. I don’t follow the WNBA, so I don’t know what the unwritten rules are or what protocol is for something like this. However, if I’m just comparing it to the NBA game, what I don’t understand about the foul that Chennedy Carter committed against Caitlin Clark is how none of Clark’s Fever teammates went after Carter and just let her get away with the cheap shot.

It's also good to see the refs in the WNBA are just as incompetent as the refs in all the other sports by calling this a common foul. (It got changed to a Flagrant-1 the following day.)

3. Since there has been a massive amount of coverage regarding the future of Inside the NBA over the past few weeks (especially in this column), I thought this nugget was worth sharing.

Last Thursday, more people watched Inside the NBA on TNT (2.8 million) after the Mavericks eliminated the Timberwolves in the Western Conference Finals than Game 5 of the Panthers-Rangers Eastern Conference Finals game on ESPN (2.1 million).

4. As proven here by Clemson, all of baseball needs more attempts at the hidden ball trick.

5. It has to be demoralizing for a hometown team when the fans in the stands are rooting for the opponent. Look at what took place in the San Francisco Giants’ ballpark on Sunday when New York Yankees slugger Juan Soto hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the 9th.

6. The latest episode of SI Media With Jimmy Traina features a conversation with Charles Barkley.

The Inside the NBA host discusses the possibility of TNT losing the NBA in the current television rights negotiations, his frustration with the lack of communication from Warner Brothers Discovery about the negotiations, whether the show could continue on another network, reaction from fans to the possible end of Inside the NBA, the awkwardness of still having to work next season for TNT if it loses the NBA beginning in the 2025–26 season, and the lack of loyalty from the NBA and what would make him decide between ESPN, NBC and Amazon if he became a free agent.

Barkley also goes off on CNN for never telling him that his show with Gayle King, King Charles, was canceled, he explains what could make him be the subject of a comedy roast, who the two nicest GOATS are in sports, the Lakers saying that LeBron James doesn't have a say in their coaching search and the reaction to his recent Caitlin Clark rant.

Following Barkley, Sal Licata from WFAN and SNY joins me for the weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week's topics include the passing of Bill Walton, Ángel Hernández's retirement from Major League Baseball, the mystery behind the Dov Kleiman Twitter account and the latest story about a restaurant charging for a ridiculous service.

You can also listen to the SI Media With Jimmy Traina below or on Apple and Spotify.

You can also watch SI Media With Jimmy Traina on Sports Illustrated‘s YouTube channel.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Since hard fouls against Caitlin Clark are all the rage these days, let’s take a look at some of the hardest fouls in NBA history.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.

Jimmy Traina


Jimmy Traina writes the daily column Traina Thoughts and hosts a weekly Sports Illustrated Media Podcast. Jimmy created the daily Hot Clicks feature in 2007, which he wrote until 2013.