It didn’t take long for Stephen A. Smith to apologize for his Monday comments on Shohei Ohtani’s viability as the face of baseball in America.
“Let me be the first to stand up and say that I want to express my sincere apologies to the Asian community and the Asian-American community,” Smith said on First Take. “I am a Black man. I religiously go off about minorities being marginalized in this nation. I instantly go off, repeatedly bring up the fact that if you are a member of a community that feels disenfranchised in any way, that’s something we need to battle, we need to fend off to the best of our ability as a nation.”
Smith questioned Ohtani’s ability to act as the face of baseball because he is still learning how to speak English (fluently).
“I don’t think it helps that the number one face, is a dude that needs an interpreter so you can understand what the hell he’s saying, in THIS COUNTRY,” Smith said Monday morning on First Take.
Smith stumbled on his attempts to apologize throughout the afternoon on Monday. Yet, he was sincere on Tuesday and, more importantly, listened to the perspectives of different guests throughout the first hour.
ESPN’s Joon Lee was quick to condemn Smith’s comments on Twitter yesterday, and fans got to see Lee give an in-depth take to Smith and the rest of the cast in the first hour. Check out a snippet of the appearance below.
All in all, Smith was raw and sincere on Tuesday during one of the more memorable hours of First Take. It would’ve been easy for the highest-paid media talent at ESPN to tweet out an apology and move on as nothing happened. Smith didn’t take the easy way out. Instead, he educated himself and the audience in the process. A rarity in today’s cancel culture climate.
“The reason that I bring up my Blackness is because of this,” Smith said. “On many occasions, what I have said when people have said something that is offensive, in any way, to the minority community, it’s not about how you feel. It is about how they feel.”
“The reality of the situation is that you have Asians and Asian Americans out there that obviously was very, very offended by what I had to say yesterday,” Smith continued. “I just want to look into the camera and extend my sincere apologies. That was not my intent. I’m not going to get into all that. I do understand that a lot of racists out there are quick to say that is not my intent. That’s not where I am going. I was wrong.”
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Troy Aikman Believes Tom Brady Has Bright Broadcasting Future
“He has some real opinions. He hasn’t always voiced all of those, of course. Now he will have a platform to where it will be expected.”
Troy Aikman has been in the NFL broadcast booth since 2001 and he knows first-hand what Tom Brady will have to go through as he goes from the playing field to the booth. The game has changed over the last 20 years, particularly the speed at which the game is played.
Aikman was a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and he was asked about the biggest adjustment he had to make when he entered the FOX booth at the time. The Hall-of-Fame QB mentioned how a lot goes on in the booth and it takes a little bit to adjust.
“There is a lot going on in a broadcast booth that it just takes a little bit of time to understand and have things slow down a little bit. There’s this idea that whether you are a player or a former coach when you go into a broadcast booth, I can’t wait to be able to educate the viewer on X and explain this.
“There’s less time now than there was when I got into the broadcast booth because all these offenses are playing up-tempo. You have to be done talking before the snap of the next play so you just don’t have the kind of time to get into a lot of that.
“What I learned early on is you start down this road of explaining something and then you have to somehow wrap it up to be done talking before Joe jumps back in. You leave something hanging and then a big play happens and you never get back to it…Adjusting to all the action and all the activity going on in the broadcast booth and the timing of everything is probably the biggest challenge.”
When he is in the booth, Aikman mentioned that he never wants the audience to feel like he has all the answers when he analyzes a game and there are only a few times when he will get very critical.
“I don’t go into a broadcast feeling like I have all the answers to what’s happening on the field and I don’t want to come off as though I do have all the answers because these guys spend an enormous amount of time giving it everything they have and it’s more important for them to win than anyone watching the game. I tend to give the coaches the benefit of the doubt.
“Where I’m critical is just not very smart plays, lack of effort, lack of discipline. Those things are when I tend to then react pretty strongly.”
As for his thoughts on Brady becoming an analyst, Aikman believes Brady will do whatever he can to be successful and he is looking forward to hearing some of the opinions Brady has on the game that now he will be able to say as an analyst.
“I think that for him, he has some real opinions. He hasn’t always voiced all of those, of course. Now he will have a platform to where it will be expected and I think he will deliver. I fully expect him to have a really great broadcasting career.
“My only advice is just be you, be authentic, be honest, speak your mind. He will find his niche. He will do that respectfully and I think he will add a lot to the broadcast.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Jay Williams Tells Stephen A. Smith His Criticism Of Kyrie Irving ‘Seems Personal’
“You say I’m being sensitive and I don’t know why, but you’re the one that’s very emotional right now.”
Kyrie Irving is a lot of things. Boring is rarely one of them. Discussions of Kyrie Irving can get heated, particularly when those discussions involve Jay Williams and Stephen A. Smith of ESPN.
Williams was a guest on First Take Monday morning. He was part of a panel discussing Irving’s trade request, which ultimately ended with him as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. He and Smith butted heads
“First off, I’m not the one yelling,” he said to Smith. “You say I’m being sensitive and I don’t know why, but you’re the one that’s very emotional right now.”
That comment was met with an “Oh my God!” from Smith, who laid back while Williams told him that it seemed like Smith is considerably harder on Irving and more triggered by stories about him than about any other athlete.
Smith answered that he is always triggered. Williams, as a regular viewer of First Take, said that did not feel true. He said that it seemed like Stephen A. Smith has a personal problem with Kyrie Irving.
“You — of all people, with all the interest you have — have the nerve to sit here on national television and tell me I’m getting personal with a player?” Smith responded. “I don’t lose no sleep. I don’t lose any sleep over Kyrie Irving.”
Smith then claimed he’d to have too much to say. Jay Williams said he did too, to which Smith started saying “Just say it, Jay.”
Williams met those demands with “I’m not here for that” and “I am on your show,” as host Molly Qerim tried to bring the temperature down.
When it comes to daytime sports television, there will always be questions about how authentic the arguments really are. Last year, Jay Williams was a guest on The Jason Barrett Podcast. He admitted on that show that Smith’s discussions of Kyrie Irving are something he has seized on to create conflict when they are together.
“The way he went at Kyrie all of last year ‘Well, you know some people don’t like to come to work. Some people don’t like to be here’ and then all the sudden for him to flip and be like ‘I’m choosing Kyrie Irving for my MVP’ I’m like ‘No! No, you can’t do that!’
Whether this was co-workers genuinely butting heads, a disagreement played up for the cameras, or some combination of the two, will likely only be known by Stephen A. Smith and Jay Williams. Plenty of their sports media colleagues took notice though.
FOX Sells Out Super Bowl Ad Time
Some advertisements were sold for more than $7 million, while the average price slotted between $6 and $7 million.
FOX Sports has reportedly sold out its allotment of Super Bowl ads, with some fetching $7 million for a 30-second spot.
According to a report from Deadline, the average price per ad was between $6 and $7 million, per FOX Sports Executive Vice President of Ad Sales Mark Evans.
Evans also told Deadline the ad slots for the event sold out two weeks ago. Volatility with some advertisers — like cryptocurrency brand FTX — and economic conditions were listed as reasons for why it took until three weeks before the event to sell out.
“As things have now settled down a bit and people feel better about the economic trajectory, a few of those units that were available picked up in earnest,” Evans said.
FOX claimed in September it had sold 95% of its available ad space for television’s largest event.
The $7 million price-tag for a 30-second commercial is in line with what first-time Super Bowl ad buyers paid for in 2022 when the event aired on NBC. That network’s reported asking price for commercials was between $5.8 and $6.2 million, with 40 advertisers joining the fray for Super Bowl LVI.