Six months after stripping him of his column, the Inqwaster on Friday fired Stephen A. Smith, citing job abandonment, we’re told. Inqwaster editor Bill Marimow had no comment when reached moments ago. In August, Marimow axed Smith’s column and asked him to stay with the paper as a sports reporter. Instead, Smith, an ESPN NBA analyst, took an unpaid leave for several weeks, and was at one point scheduled to return but has repeatedly failed to do so, we’re told. Smith also hosts ESPN Radio out of New York along with former 610 WIP yakker Mike Missanelli.
As we reported several months back, Smith has hired a team of lawyers to deal with the Inqwaster in a legal dispute related to his loss of the column. Smith’s counsel did not immediately return calls or e-mails today.
Bill Ross, local representative of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia Local 10, has confirmed Smith's firing and says the union "will file a grievance and continue to defend him on our end as we also continue to cooperate with his private counsel.” Efforts to reach Smith, who is now blogging were unsuccessful.