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'You clearly haven't been here': Milwaukee residents, officials react to ESPN's 'terrible city' comment

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 19:25:40-04

During a segment of ESPN's 'First Take,' some of the hosts made it clear they did not want to host the show in Milwaukee for the NBA Finals.

"You really want to be in Milwaukee? Is that where you want to be? Milwaukee?" asked former NFL player Damien Woody.

"Hell no, hell no," responded popular sports commentator, Stephen A. Smith.

"This is the first time, I'm not sure what our plans are for First Take, but I don't think we are going. Max and I will see. And it's going to be terrible cities," responded Molly Qerim Rose, another 'First Take' host.

"I don't believe I've ever rooted for Atlanta, the Atlanta Hawks and the Los Angeles Clippers more in my life," said Smith.

That doesn't sit well with lifelong Milwaukeeans like Nick Lee, who's lived in the city for 28 years.

"If that's what you think, you clearly haven't been here. I think a lot of people just treat the Midwest like it's a flyover, but there's a lot to offer here too," said Lee.

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Milwaukee Alderman Khalif Rainey sent out a statement Wednesday saying, "I have a message for the haters of the Milwaukee Bucks: Keep bringing the disrespect so the Bucks can keep turning it into jet fuel."

"You've got the downtown atmosphere alone by itself, there's so much food down here, I mean it's just an enjoyable place. It's what you make of it. You'll see for yourself, never mind what people hear, come out and experience it yourself," said Milwaukee resident James White.

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The comments also gained attention from the president of the Milwaukee Bucks, Peter Feigin, who said, "When's the last time you've been to Milwaukee? Must be a while." Feigin even offered to give a personal tour to the First Take hosts.

"We would welcome them to Milwaukee to see just how wrong they are anytime. We are easy to get around, more affordable and you can do more in a weekend here than you could do in Chicago or L.A. any day," said Claire Koenig, the communications director for Visit Milwaukee.

TMJ4 reached out to one of the hosts of First Take, but we have not heard back.

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