ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith informed University of South Alabama students that racism no longer exists for them, and that self-reliance is the way forward.
Smith appeared on the Mobile, Alabama, campus to give a talk about “The Legacy, History, and Impact of the African American Athlete,” on February 29 as part of the school’s Black History Month activities.
The often flamboyant Smith — whose views on sports-related issues are all over the map and who has increasingly inched his way into politics — is best known for his intense and some say obnoxious back-and-forth with the equally outspoken Skip Bayless (himself best known perhaps for his man-crush on quarterback Tim Tebow) on the high-rated show ESPN show First Take which airs five mornings a week on the TV network.
Smith also regularly appears on other ESPN programming, primarily its NBA coverage.
About a year ago, Stephen A. Smith, a self-proclaimed independent voter, reaffirmed his recommendation that African-Americans should stop monolithically supporting Democrats in every election and instead make both major parties compete for their vote. He has also been somewhat critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Related story: Black History Month: Megan Freeman Agrees With Stacey Dash
You may also remember that ESPN suspended him in 2014 for controversial comments about domestic violence. Last year, he found himself engulfed in another controversy, this time over comments made about the NFL Philadelphia Eagles. Stephen A. subsequently rejected any racial basis for his criticism of then-head coach Chip Kelly’s personnel decisions.
Stephen A. Smith Tells Black Students Racism Is Over | Bossip https://t.co/cpphqSifWW— E (@JustErinRobbins) March 4, 2016
Separately, Stephen A. Smith insisted this week that hometown hero LeBron James could opt out of his Cleveland Cavaliers contract “if he feels the Cavs are taking him for granted.”
ESPN host Stephen A. Smith tells students “racism doesn’t exist for you” in a speech honoring Black History Month https://t.co/mUVspDYdyS— Global Grind (@GlobalGrind) March 4, 2016
Addressing race relations in America, Stephen A. Smith told the South Alabama audience the following, CBS affiliate WKRG in Mobile reported.
“Racism doesn’t exist. Obviously, I’m lying. Of course it exists, but not for you. See, you don’t have to go to the back of the bus. You’re not denied the opportunity to eat at restaurants, or to enter night clubs, or to patronize businesses. You have the right to vote. You’re not being lynched. You’re not being hung. You’re not going through the trials and tribulations your ancestors, recent and far beyond recent, endured so you can sit here today.”
Smith went on to acknowledge in his lecture that he was directing these comments about the end of racism to the younger generation, such as the college/millennial cohort.
“You older, you know I’m not talking about you. But youngsters — you need to understand that white folks got problems, too. Some of them can’t pay their bills. Some of them are struggling. Some of them are being denied opportunities. And you need to understand that, because when people are going through their own problems, they are not going to lament what your trials and tribulations are.”
Yesterday, on his Sirius XM radio show, in response to a social media outcry, Stephen A. Smith sought to clarify his thoughts as conveyed in the Black History Month speech.
“What I’m saying is, that if you’re young, because of the challenges your ancestors faced and overcame, you don’t get to use it as an excuse, for why you can’t succeed, because people got their own problems…you better make sure you do your part to overcome any obstacles that are placed before you,” he explained.
And yes! I felt the need to address how my message to the students at S. Alabama U from Monday was misconstrued: https://t.co/RaV7FsdE3i!— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) March 3, 2016
[Photo by Gregory Payan/AP]