ESPN's Stephen A. Smith announces he has COVID-19 on 'First Take'

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  • Stephen A. Smith
    Stephen A. Smith
    American sports journalist

ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith knows how to make an announcement. On Tuesday morning he tweeted this teaser to try to convince people to tune into his show, "First Take," at 10 a.m. to hear some news he had to share. 

The tone of Smith's tweet seemed excited, so it was a little surprising to hear him announcing that he has tested positive for COVID-19. He was filming virtually and was not in the studio at the time. 

"I've tested positive for COVID-19, I have the coronavirus. I learned this over the weekend. I got tested three times last week prior to the weekend and I had tested negative. I tested negative before I departed from L.A., I tested negative when I arrived in L.A., I tested negative when I got back from L.A."

Smith, 54, said that he started experiencing mild symptoms after he returned from Los Angeles, and was running a fever on Thursday evening. He was absent from the show on Monday due to his COVID diagnosis, but clarified that his absence from the show on Thursday and Friday of last week was due to an endoscopy and was not COVID-19 related. 

“Thank God I was vaccinated," Smith said. "Thank God I got the Pfizer vaccine, two shots a few months ago.” Smith, who said he was feeling fine and had only mild symptoms, added that he has not yet gotten the COVID-19 booster shot. 

In true Stephen A. style, he followed his COVID-19 announcement with a rant about the Brooklyn Nets allowing the unvaccinated Kyrie Irving return to the team. 

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