‘I’m A Black Man, You Idiots!’: ESPN’s Smith Responds To Backlash For Saying Kaepernick ‘Eradicated’ His Points
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ESPN host Stephen A. Smith unloaded on his critics Tuesday after severe backlash for his assertion that former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick wants to “be a martyr” more than he wants to play in the league and that his stunt on Saturday “eradicated” his talking points.
After the NFL set up a private tryout for Kaepernick in Atlanta on Saturday that featured scouts from reportedly 25 of the league’s 32 teams, Kaepernick and his team suddenly decided to pull out and move the event to a high school field instead, claiming the league wanted them to sign a waiver that was somehow unacceptable and wouldn’t allow them to bring their own camera crew. After running through drills at the far less attended event at the changed venue, Kaepernick, who started off the event wearing a shirt invoking slavery, gave a defiant statement accusing the NFL of “running” from him.
“I’ve been ready for three years. I’ve been denied for three years,” Kaepernick declared. “We all know why I came out here today and showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide, so we’re waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. To stop running from the truth. To stop running from the people.”
Colin Kaepernick made a 90 second statement before leaving pic.twitter.com/QlH2RTnLp5
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 16, 2019
In response, Smith, who has been generally supportive of Kaepernick’s cause, slammed the former QB. “Colin Kaepernick wants to change the venue; Colin Kaepernick wants his own receivers; Colin Kaepernick wants to video things himself; Colin Kaepernick wants the media,” Smith said over the weekend. “This Colin Kaepernick, media can’t find him! He ain’t done no interviews; he ain’t talked to nobody; media can’t find him – but he wants the media available now. You see? You see? He don’t want to play; he wants to be a martyr. But guess what? It ain’t working this time.”
On Monday, Smith doubled down, saying in a debate with fellow ESPN host Max Kellerman, who took Kaepernick’s side, that the quarterback-turned-activist had nullified his talking points about the NFL by turning Saturday into a league-antagonizing stunt.
After blowback from Kaepernick fans against Smith for his criticism, the outspoken host addressed the issue again on Tuesday. He began by holding up two documents, the waiver that Kaepernick signed in 2011 for the league and the waiver given to him last week, highlighting that there are only two minor differences. Then Smith launched into an impassioned explanation and defense of his criticism from the previous couple of days.
“When I sit up there, and I sat here yesterday, and I spoke about how his points are eradicated, I’m not talking about the kneeling. I’m not talking about the protesting,” said Smith (transcript via For The Win).
“I’m a black man, you idiots! You think I have a problem with a man that is kneeling and protesting racial oppression and police brutality? Do you know anything about my history in 25 years in this damn business? From The New York Daily News to the Philadelphia Inquirer to CNN to Fox to ESPN. Do you have any idea about my damn background and the fights that I have taken on the behalf of African Americans throughout this nation’s history? Do you have any idea who the hell you are talking about?”
To make sure his critics didn’t miss it, Smith tweeted out a video of the statement (longer video below):
Listen to this, Damnit! pic.twitter.com/o8W8ZFWZ3x
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) November 19, 2019
Below is the video of the full segment: