Stephen A. Smith appeared to use the n-word while on ESPN’s First Take on Thursday morning, as the host slipped on-air while discussing Kobe Bryant’s food injury.
Speaking about Kobe, Stephen A. Smith scoffed at the notion that such a competitor and five-time NBA champion would sit out for the Lakers’ season opener, The Huffington Post noted. It was there that Smith appeared to slip.
Here’s what it sounds like Smith said:
“Opening night. Kobe Bryant is going to miss it because, ‘my foot is sprained?’ Are you crazy, nigga please,” Smith appeared to say.
That is where the disagreement begins. The Big Lead questioned whether Stephen A. Smith said the word itself, throwing it into question in its headline for the post about the incident. BuzzFeed Sports takes the other side, saying that Smith “definitely” used that n-word.
If true, it’s not the first time that Stephen A. Smith has used the n-word while speaking live on ESPN. In December of last year he appeared again to say the word while talking about how LeBron James should emulate Kobe. Apparently it’s just something about Kobe Bryant that makes the outspoken host a little careless with his words.
At the time, Stephen A. Smith went to Twitter to deny saying the n-word. He was just as adamant on Thursday.
“There are numerous reports out there I uttered a word I should not have,” Stephen A. Smith said. “I’m going to repeat this one more time — I did not do so.”
Here is the video of Stephen A. Smith clarifying that he did not use the n-word: