ESPN commentator and Sirius XM radio host Stephen A. Smith found himself the subject of speculation today after multiple sports and social media outlets made accusations that his statements on First Take suggested Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly was a racist.
“Chip Kelly makes decisions over the last couple of years that, dare I say, leave a few brothers feeling uncomfortable…. I think that’s fair to say.”
Though Smith was the one to say it, all of the others in the discussion agreed in unison that the moves by Kelly were questionable. Stephen A. Smith, however, has been the one to bear the brunt of the fallout from the discussion with multiple headlines stating he was “playing the race card” while users of Twitter and Facebook run with it. Smith says those accusations simply aren’t true and he’s furious.
Stephen angrily responded to critics with his radio broadcast on Mad Dog Sports Radio Sirius XM later this afternoon saying that assumptions were being made regarding what he was trying to say.
“…a bunch of idiots in the world of Twitter and beyond saw me on First Take today speaking about Chip Kelly, the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and essentially are trying to create storylines or headlines by accusing me of calling Chip Kelly a racist. Ladies and gentlemen, I did no such thing. But if you are uncomfortable with what I had to say on First Take this morning with my man Skip Bayless on ESPN 2, let me say this to you: I don’t give a damn.”
Stephen A’s 16-minute long monologue to open his show explained in more depth his reasoning for statements regarding Kelly, stating that he was concerned about the culture of certain types of players the coach is fostering, while other talented and elite players are traded or given up to free agency. Smith discussed the reality of salary caps but the inconsistency of the release of extraordinary players like DeSean Jackson, McCoy, and Maclin over other less formidable players like Riley Cooper.
About halfway through the tirade, Smith re-iterated that he was not crying racism with his remarks but that these were assumptions made by others.
“I come on here. I say what the hell I want to say. And I mean what I mean. And if I thought for one second that’s what Chip Kelly was, I would say so. And then I would back it up. I don’t know Chip Kelly to be that kind of man.”
Stephen A. Smith then also encouraged listeners to call in to discuss the matter if they needed more clarification, hoping that he could nip the racism rumors in the bud, reminding listeners that his time on First Take is limited because he is a guest but on his radio show he has the ability discuss things more freely and in depth.
For the full monologue, listen here:
[Image courtesy of Bill McCay/Getty Images]