ESPN radio host and TV commentator Stephen A. Smith told Arsenio Hall on his talk show over the weekend that Kobe Bryant was “right on point” in his assessment that he wasn’t comfortable with Miami Heat players protesting in support of Trayvon Martin without knowing all of the facts.
Bryant was quoted in the upcoming issue of the New Yorker as saying: “I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African American,” he reportedly said. ” … If something happens to an African American, we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African American.”
Smith said that while it is clear that black people are “outnumbered” in society, that doesn’t give them a “license to be unfair.” He added that people needed to “exercise a level of fairness and justice.”
Hall mentioned the Tawana Brawley case, in which a black teenager claimed that she had been raped and left for days in the woods. “I went hook, line and sinker with an opinion,” he said. Later it would be reported that the teenager had fabricated the event.
Smith noted, “When you make the mistake of jumping to emotional conclusions and being factually incorrect, your cachet diminishes.”
Since Bryant’s interview, the Los Angeles Lakers star has taken to social media to defend his position, claiming that he believed Trayvon Martin was wronged but he didn’t jump to conclusions before getting all of the facts.