Philly Paper Can't Get Rid Of Stephen A. Fast Enough

Yesterday, we told you how Phawker reported that Stephen A. Smith was being stripped of his Philadelphia Inquirer column. Well, the Inquirer confirmed it yesterday in a story that's as passive-aggressively hostile as the snippiest inner office memo.

The paper reports not that Stephen A. is losing his column, but that he's "due to return to reporting," which is kind of an insult in itself. The story goes on to:

• Slap Smith by saying, "Smith's column, which he began writing in 2003, last appeared on Friday, when he asserted that the Phillies were in better shape than the Mets."

• Point out that Smith isn't returning calls to his own paper.

• Imply that Smith has been slacking because of his "obligations" to other outlets, mentioning, "Earlier this year, he was on the TV soap opera General Hospital and in the Chris Rock movie I Think I Love My Wife."

They actually link from the online version of the story to the great Slate piece about how television is ruining the sports column. That's a bitch slap, friends. But surely, after all this, Stephen A. will love to come back from vacation to write features on Temple women's basketball, absolutely.

Oh, sorry, we almost forgot: EVERYTHING HE SAYS IS IMPORTANT.

Seriously, though: We're pretty curious what Smith does when he comes back. Will he quit? Sue? Pelt the editor with Cheesy Doodles?

Stephen A. Smith Due To Return To Reporting [Philadelphia Inquirer]