By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jun 23, 2021 at 10:06 AM

Paul Pierce may no longer work at ESPN, but his Milwaukee-hating spirit apparently lives on over its airwaves. 

For those who missed yesterday's Brew City brouhaha, ESPN's ear-shattering morning show "First Take" took some time out of its busy schedule talking about Tim Tebow for the 57th day and trying to convince good basketball players to come play for the bum New York Knicks to rip on several of the remaining cities in the NBA playoffs – with Milwaukee particularly getting the brunt of the beating. 

If you're looking for a reason for why hot-takers Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith as well as guest commentator Damien Woody hate Milwaukee, well, you'll have to find some other clip somewhere (though I wouldn't recommend watching more of these people yell over each other on a dying network grasping desperately for relevance). My favorite part is when host Molly Qerim Rose sounds like she's butting in to do the usual "now guys, let's not be mean" placating ... but instead just further dunks on Milwaukee and company, even going as far as to call them "terrible cities." Guess you can get ratings from other better cities then!

Thankfully, many in the sports world – from local to national writers and personalities and even some from the four-letter network itself – stood up for Milwaukee on social media ... 

Meanwhile, others – including Bucks president Peter Feigin – offered to show the vapid hosts what makes Milwaukee special. Why we would grovel for their approval, I do not know; you're better people than me. 

Listen, I've got no problem if you want to smacktalk the Bucks and diminish their current playoff run. We all watched that series and know that the team's painfully, hilariously flawed! And we know Milwaukee's not perfect. But coming after the whole city, condescendingly smirking and chuckling at small markets like they're all in Siberia? Get out of here ...

And apparently there's now a petition to make sure of that, quite literally. 

Created by Bucks fan Jake Mahkorn, there's now a petition going around asking to ban Stephen A. Smith and "First Take" from any potential NBA Finals games (*knocks on all the wood in the vacinity*) in Milwaukee.

"You may not be a fan of the Bucks," writes the petition. "Hell, you may not even be a fan of the NBA. But if you're a fan of America. If you're a fan of small market sports teams. A fan of parity, the NBA. Or maybe you just think enough is enough with this dude. This petition is for you.

"This dude doesn't need to be in Milwaukee in two weeks sitting outside on a TV panel in beautiful weather on national television complaining about Milwaukee. His seat belongs to someone who wants to be there. A real 'expert' would want to see championship basketball live while the rest of the world watched on, whether in Milwaukee or in Antarctica."

Feel free to sign the petition here – which, as of current writing, stands at 914 signatures with the goal of 1,000 within spitting distance. But I think we can do better. After all, why would we ban them from Milwaukee when we could, say, make them stay and set up their studio at Jones Island instead?

The best revenge of all, though? Forcing them to talk about a Milwaukee NBA Finals championship. So let's go Bucks, and here's to Giannis and company making those ESPN nightmares become a reality – with the first step hopefully happening tonight with a Game 1 Eastern Conference Finals win over the Atlanta Hawks at Fiserv Forum. The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. (For more Bucks info, click here.)

Hope to not see you there, "First Take."

And by the way, for a little palate cleanser, here's what TNT's NBA host (and Milwaukee native) Ernie Johnson had to say about Brew City:

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.