Jake Arrieta vs. Stephen A. Smith: Round II?
Smith initially took a strong stance against Arrieta and the possibility of the 2015 NL Cy Young winner taking performance-enhancing drugs, but then immediately backed down when confronted on Twitter.
On Thursday's "First Take," Smith apparently felt like he had to keep the drama going and responded to Arrieta:
"I can appreciate Jake Arrieta defending himself," Smith said. "If it were me, I certainly would. I take no offense whatsoever at anything he said towards me or that he Tweeted at me.
"But I do think he needs to understand my perspective. Skip Bayless - we didn't walk on this show saying, 'We've been watching Jake Arrieta pitch. Let's talk about it because this seems suspicious.' No, it was an article in USATODAY with fans and contemporaries quietly saying, 'Something doesn't seem right here.' So we pointed out the level of excellence, what he did in the second half of last season."
Smith then delved into how many others in the game of baseball have denied using PEDs - like Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun - and how we can't take anybody's word for it nowadays.
Apparently that means that Smith can accuse (without technically accusing) somebody of taking PEDs or claiming they handled the aftermath wrong by laughing it off?
To be fair, that's basically what "First Take" is: discussing hot-button sports issues with vague language - it's basically a bunch of hot takes communicated with lawyerspeak - so the Arrieta comments Wednesday weren't all that newsworthy until the Cubs pitcher decided to respond on Twitter.
"I don't know anything about Jake Arreita," Smith continued. "All I know is this man is nothing short of sensational, deserving of the Cy Young Award because of his performance in the second half of the season and - by the way - happened to lose to the Mets in the postseason. That's all I know about him."
Cheers to the (hopeful) end to this saga.