Apologies are for accidents.
If someone steps on your foot because they didn’t see it, then they should apologize for that mistake.
Apologies are not for assholes. Stephen A. Smith is an asshole.
And he’s been doing his whole asshole bit for quite some time now.
On Monday, ESPN’s own George Jefferson took to First Take to claim that a Japanese-born superstar who is literally the closest thing to Babe Ruth that America has seen (and you know how America is about Babe Ruth) couldn’t be the face of the league because he doesn’t speak English.
“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,” Jefferson said, Mediaite reports. Instead of apologizing immediately after realizing what he’d just said, Smith doubled down on that dumbass xenophobic bullshit in a video I like to call “WTF is wrong with Stephen A. Smith?”
I’m sure after a few calls with ESPN brass, Smith, the highest paid analyst on the network, changed his tune and issued a social media apology and then took to First Take on Tuesday to issue another apology.
“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. “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.”
See and this is where I have a problem. First off, Smith is right; he is a Black man, but that doesn’t absolve him from having white American sensibilities. Just see his cohort in bad takes, Jason Whitlock, arguably the Blackest white man not named...wait, nope, Jason Whitlock is the Blackest white man. If Smith was truly on the side of righteousness he would’ve known that ending his xenophobic rant with “IN THIS COUNTRY” was the icing on the “how dare you come to this country and not learn the language!” Americana that Trump folks wade in.
But I don’t want to call Smith’s apology trash without explaining exactly why I feel this way. Smith said that shit. He also had a chance on his own to apologize when he learned that his words were hurtful. Instead of apologizing, Smith did a full on “Let me mansplain my xenophobia.”
Meaning none of this—Smith’s social media apology nor his apology on First Take—was genuine as both likely came from up high. When left to his own devices, Smith said what he said. When he realized that his words were hurtful, he doubled down, and only after this did he start his apology tour.
So I’m not buying it. Let me repeat: Smith is ESPN’s highest paid analyst and when he’s not doing the whole “let me take Black people to task” bit, he wades in Whitlockian waters only apologizing when forced to bend the knee.