Stephen A. Smith is certainly one of the most controversial figures in the world of sports today. His takes are not necessarily always praised by the general public. What he said this morning though, on his Show First Take crossed a line for a lot of people.
Smith has been one of the more vocal figures when it comes to talking about potential racism in sports. That’s why his take on Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani seems even more out of line. Many people on Twitter have been quick to point out its hypocritical nature.
Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
On the show, Stephen A. Smith weighed in on the recent success that Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani has been having. He leads the league in home runs and has a very respectable record as a pitcher. Stephen decided to point out that have him as the face of the league was not positive for the MLB. All of this just based on the fact that Ohtani does not speak fluent English and needs an interpreter to communicate with the media.
Mike Trout Needs To Be The Face Of The League
According to Stephen A. having a foreign-born player as the face of the league is bad for baseball. He even suggested who should be the face of the league. Saying that it should be Mike Trout or someone like that. On Ohtani Smith directly mentioned,
“The fact that you got a foreign player that doesn’t speak English, that needs an interpreter, believe it or not, I think contributes to harming the game to some degree, when that’s your box-office appeal,”
He then doubled down and mentioned who he thinks should be the face of the league saying,
“It needs to be somebody like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, those guys. Unfortunately at this moment in time, that’s not the case.”
Scott U, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
As you can probably imagine the backlash from the comments has been intense. This is actually a topic that is still trending on Twitter. At least at the time of writing this article. One of the biggest talking points amongst the folks who are criticizing the comments is the fact that about a quarter of the league speaks Spanish. Baseball has been a global game for longer than places like the NBA who are almost just begging to add foreign players. There are also people on Twitter calling for Stephen A. to lose his job. Comparing his situation to the incident involving another ESPN on-air talent Rachel Nichols.
He’s Already Addressed The Issue
Solen Feyissa, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Stephen A. has wasted no time in getting on top of the issue. He released a video through his social media channels addressing the situation. To many people’s surprise, he is not taking the typical quick apology route. Instead, Smith has chosen to defend his stance. Saying that he is talking about the state of baseball. The fact that a Japanese player is becoming the face of the league may not be the best thing for the local fan base of the game. Even with this clarification, many people have taken offense to his comments!
*Update Stephen A. has since issued an apology via Instagram
On my earlier comments about Ohtani pic.twitter.com/FM0vnDDXBB
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) July 12, 2021
Ver esta publicación en Instagram