Thursday, September 28, 2023

Stephen A. Smith is a sports embarrassment for ESPN.

April 29, 2020 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(  Last weekend, the 2020 NFL Draft was appointment viewing as it was the most watched NFL Draft ever. Because much of America was restricted to staying at home due to the coronavirus, options for live sporting events has been limited for over a month. The huge popularity of the NFL, college football, and the merging of the two during the NFL Draft are a big part of the interest of the NFL Draft. Of course, the 2020 NFL Draft was going to be a remote or “virtual” one due to the current circumstances which led people to be curious about this particular NFL Draft. ESPN’s coverage of the event had its highs and lows and has gotten a lot of criticism for its glorification of the personal tragedies of many of the young men who were selected during the draft. Another long-term negative for ESPN is one of their most prominent personalities, Stephen A. Smith, who also recently weighed in on the NFL Draft in embarrassing fashion.

The Dallas Cowboys took former Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb with their first round pick during the 2020 NFL Draft. While speaking about CeeDee Lamb joining the Cowboys on ESPN’s debate show First Take, Stephen A. Smith mentioned that NFL wide receiver Terrance Williams was on the roster. The problem with that was that Williams hasn’t played on the Cowboys since 2018 and didn’t play in the NFL at all in 2019. It’s understandable that a television personality that talks sports nearly every day on TV for a few hours might make a mistake like that but it is far from Smith’s first mistake like that.

In 2018, Stephen A. Smith was previewing a Thursday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City with fellow ESPN personality Max Kellerman and ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi when Smith made multiple gaffes. He referred to the “San Diego Chargers” although the Chargers have been the “Los Angeles Chargers” since 2017. Smith then mentioned an impossible matchup between Chargers tight end Hunter Henry, who tore his ACL in May and hasn’t played a snap all season, and Derrick Johnson, who did not play for Kansas City that year. “I’m thinking about Hunter Henry and the way that he’s played this year,” Smith said, “and as effective as he’s been, he’s going up against Derrick Johnson, and I’ve got to keep my eyes on that.”

In January of 2019, Stephen A. Smith was speaking on his radio show and breaking down the NFC Championship Game between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams when he mentioned former Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt as part of the game, the same Kareem Hunt who had been released by Kansas City months earlier and was unemployed due to domestic violence. Smith is human and will make mistakes but it is also important to point out that he makes reportedly $8 million a year as ESPN’s highest paid sportscaster.

Smith complains about the performances of millionaire athletes yet has become known for numerous NFL gaffes. He has a good history in breaking news as a NBA reporter but his numerous misfires in naming athletes on the wrong team consistently undermine his credibility. He continues to prove, like Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless, that sports television commentary continues to be more about style and bluster than substance and intelligence. Sports fans deserve better.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines

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