If you had a potential fight between ESPN star Bomani Jones and Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva on your bingo sheet, then you’re in luck.
Much like ESPN colleagues Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, Jones is never one to back down from sharing what’s on his mind. Still, there’s a major difference between the viral moments on First Take and Jones’ apparent issues with Villanueva, a former Army Ranger.
Alejandro Villanueva took a shot at Steelers star JuJu Smith-Schuster
A former all-purpose standout for the Army Black Knights, Alejandro Villanueva rose to prominence after he began starting on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line in 2015.
After some early struggles at left tackle, Villanueva eventually grew into an elite protector for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Villanueva’s journey from undrafted rookie — and someone who spent 2010-15 in the U.S. Army — to a two-time Pro Bowl selection made him an inspiring story in football circles.
But when the 2021 season starts, Villanueva will be tasked with defeating his former teammates at least twice a year. Villanueva recently signed a two-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens and will likely start at right tackle.
While praising the Ravens’ offense in a recent teleconference with the media, Villanueva fired a veiled insult at Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
“When you have a balanced offense, or when you run the ball, it’s obviously better for the offensive line. I’m assuming it’s not as fun for the wide receivers because they’re not getting all the catches. They’re making the TikToks, and they’re having fun on their social media.”Alejandro Villanueva
Smith-Schuster, the Steelers’ standout receiver, earned backlash last year for his viral TikTok videos of dancing on opposing teams’ on-field logos.
ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a shot at Villanueva on social media
Bomani Jones is not pleased with Villanueva or, seemingly, the entire city of Pittsburgh.
Jones shared Villanueva’s comments and wrote that the two-time Pro Bowler would eventually have the potential to make a great deal of money as a Pittsburgh radio host. Then, Jones added he didn’t mean that as a compliment.
Pittsburgh radio host Mark Madden asked Jones to explain what he meant, and Jones elaborated.
[L]ike the take he offers here about “wide receivers” is classic lazy sports talk hackery that’s gotten many people rich for decades. [F]eel free to show me the lie, if you can find it.”Bomani Jones
This is not the first time that Jones has expressed displeasure with Villanueva. According to Barrett Sports Media, Jones criticized Villanueva for standing in the tunnel when his Steelers teammates took a knee during the national anthem, Jones said that Villanueva’s decision to remain in the tunnel was “rehearsed.”
Villanueva later apologized and said his decision to stand alone was unintentional.
Jones then got into a fight with Pittsburgh radio host Mark Madden
After he ripped Villanueva, Jones turned his attention to Madden, the longtime radio host and sports columnist. Jones and Madden engaged in a Twitter war throughout the afternoon of Wednesday, May 5.
Madden accused Smith-Schuster of being “unfocused, immature, & unprofessional.” Jones said that Madden had proved his point about Pittsburgh radio hosts providing lazy commentary.
“I think you’ve underachieved gratuitously given your opportunities,” Madden fired back.
It seems safe to guess that Jones should not expect to be a guest on Madden’s show when the Ravens and Steelers face off later this year.