The University of Florida embraced debate Wednesday night. The Gators brought First Take‘s Stephen A. Smith to campus for a speaking engagement.
The loud-mouthed ESPN personality did not come cheaply. According to his contract, published today by Deadspin, Smith was paid $26,500 for his appearance. Smith, 47, spoke for 45 minutes, answered questions for 15 minutes and attended a reception for a select group of students.
Smith does not appear to have a direct connection to the university. The former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist has a degree from Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte.
Uni. of Florida paid Stephen A. Smith $26K speaking fee. Completely unrelated but does anyone have a shredder I can borrow 4 my UF diploma?
— Keith Niebuhr (@Keith247Sports) November 13, 2014
While there was some negative reaction on social media, Smith’s arrival at Florida was received with much applause.
From Florida’s student newspaper, The Alligator:
Stephen A. Smith was greeted with a standing ovation when he arrived at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday night.
Smith’s speech reportedly touched on a number of topics, including his suspension from ESPN (he didn’t think it was warranted), his personality on the air (“I don’t believe I’m negative, I believe I’m real,” he said) and his advice to students (work hard, fight adversity).
How much would it have cost to get Skip Bayless?