Well-known sports media personality Stephen A. Smith reaches millions daily who apparently enjoy watching him yell his ass off about numerous sports topics. Still, now and then, Smith has a hot take that manages to piss people off.
On Monday, the First Take commentator appeared on Sherri Shepherd’s daytime talk show, SHERRI, to promote his new book, Straight Shooter. At one point during the show, Shepherd asked Smith for his opinion about Rihanna performing at the Super Bowl halftime show.
Instead of simply saying, “yes I’m excited about Rihanna performing,” Smith took it in a whole ‘nother direction.
In his response, Smith said, “I don’t want to say I’m not excited. She’s fantastic. That’s not where I’m going with this. She’s a lot of things. She’s spectacular. And congratulations on new mamahood. There’s one thing she’s not. She AIN’T Beyonce.”
He continued, “The only reason I brought up Beyonce is because Beyonce recently performed at the Super Bowl. And without Bruno Mars and Coldplay.
What the hell kind of an answer was that? Stephen A. Smith had a perfect opportunity to heap praise on Rihanna, especially given her past history with the NFL. He instead used it as an opportunity to throw shade at her. It’s giving great, “Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” energy. However, there were a million better ways he could’ve answered that question.
First of all, Beyoncé performed SEVEN years ago. Smith was still doing First Take with Skip Bayless when she last performed at the Super Bowl. Secondly, why did Smith feel the need to compare the two? Sherri never asked him about Beyoncé, or which artist he thought was better.
To no surprise, Rihanna fans weren’t happy with Smith’s words and let him know it on social media. Smith put out a half-hearted apology saying, “I’m gonna own it. I know what y’all trying to do, but I’m gonna own it because I get paid to speak for a living, so I need to be more careful.”
He continued, “I want Rihanna to know, you’re a superstar, you’re sensational, you’re spectacular, you’re no joke and you are a worthy person to be doing the Super Bowl halftime show.”
He made it clear that he meant it “as no disrespect to Rihanna” and that he compares every Super Bowl halftime show to the year Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Beyoncé performed.
But, whether he meant it or not, he took an unwarranted shot at Rihanna that was totally unnecessary and deserves all the heat he’s getting for uselessly comparing two amazing artists when nobody asked him to.