Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
Stephen A. Smith of ESPN stepped in again.
For the second time he was accused of using the n-word on ESPN First take. But as people everywhere debate his alleged use of the word, he’s not the only one who has polluted the airwaves of cable TV. These types of loudmouths are all over your TV and internet screens, and what they do is embarrassing and cost effective.
For the record, I don’t think Smith used the n word on the air when referring to Kobe Bryant missing regular season games due to a foot injury. After watching it several times on latimes.com, it seems to me that it substituted the letter “h” for the letter “n”. The tip of his tongue never touched the roof of his mouth, and so he never actually formed the word.
I believe he (on purpose or not) said “h ****, please”, as opposed to “n ****, please”. Take a look at the tape and see for yourself. If her lips had actually formed the word “n ****” it would have been very clear. Maybe he mispronounced the word intentionally or even unintentionally.
He says he didn’t use the n word, but I’d like to ask him what he actually said and what that meant.
It looks like we’ll never get a chance to do that, unfortunately, as he and ESPN have already swept it under the rug, with Smith claiming “I’m talking really, really fast (sic)” without explaining what he’s really got. said. ESPN was so concerned with what it said that the network removed the phrase from the show for future broadcasts. If there was no problem with what Smith said or didn’t say, why remove the line from the show?
I’m not going to go as far as fellow writer Jason Whitlock of Foxsports.com went by using words like “black cronies”, “nigger”, “bojangle”, “crack pipe” and “handy fruit” . I don’t think the use of racist words in a racist incident is helpful, helpful or productive. But Whitlock got permission from his editors to use those insensitive words to describe Smith and the fury surrounding him, and that’s their choice.
Cussing in a situation like this is a complete waste of time. A full dialogue on derogatory words and phrases should be the recipe of the day.
I’ve been to Bleacher Report several times to talk about racial issues in sports. Whether it’s former NBA player Jalen Rose disrespecting African American basketball players at Duke, or people who criticize Houston Rockets goalie Jeremy Lin because of his ethnicity, this stupidity must to cease.
ESPN is in a difficult position with Smith. First take probably does quite well in the notes. They attract renowned athletes, rappers and other celebrities to the show. They hired a new permanent co-host (whom Whitlock disrespectfully called âeye candy). Co-host Skip Bayless and Smith argue over various hot topics of the day, and ESPN feels like the show is work.
Personally, I think the series cannot be watched for a long time. A few minutes here and there, maybe. But there’s no way a sane person could sit there and watch these two big-booths scream at each other for an hour. Certainly not.
First of all, you don’t get any information. You get very little, if anything, from their so called “chat.” It’s basically two guys taking over each other and saying things out loud. Most are based on personal opinions, which sometimes seem wrong and off target. But Smith and Bayless aren’t the only loud people on network cable TV. They are among many others.
Take a spin around the cable TV and you will see Stephen A. Smiths and Skip Baylesses everywhere.
Chris Matthews of MSNBC often yells at his guests and yells when he speaks in general. His show is supposed to educate people on politics and world affairs. Often it’s a 60-year-old man who was angry before he had breakfast that morning, and the Republican Party is to blame.
I also see a little Smith and Bayless in Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. He seems to get angry on a daily basis and looks into the camera and confronts whoever is there. His “target of choice” is usually anyone who is Democrat or supporting President Obama.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Al Sharpton, Glenn Beck, Neil Cavuto, and all of CNN’s political experts all have a lot in common with the Smith and Bayless method of operation.
I often cringe when I see ESPN’s Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. âdebatingâ the best college football teams in the country. Kiper totally criticizes McShay and yells at him. McShay pushes him aside as if he’s no longer in touch with today’s varsity athlete. Talking to each other is normal and apparently what producers think viewers want to see.
A few years ago, ESPN pitted skinny John Clayton against former NFL quarterback Sean Salisbury. It was unfair from the start due to the physical height difference between the two men, let alone Clayton speaking a little softly, and Salisbury was loud and bordering on obnoxious. Salisbury basically yelled at Clayton during each segment, and frankly, it was uncomfortable to watch.
Clayton is one of the most knowledgeable NFL insiders on television, and putting him in that âcomedicâ segment was a shame for his experience and professionalism. Salisbury split off from the network because of salacious allegations that we won’t go into this space in, and the segment was dropped.
The invention of cable television was a bright spot in the communications world at the time. It promised viewers the ability to watch sports, news and entertainment programs 24/7. It had and still has great promises for live news and analysis. . But it has too often been belittled to analysts who ramble on out of the blue and anyone with any track record spitting out personal beliefs on camera.
The sad part about First take, and many other cable TV network news analysis programs, is that most of them earn a lot of money. As long as this is true, it doesn’t matter if the hosts are responsible, smart, or informative, unlike Smith and Bayless. And unfortunately, for television executives, it is no longer a question of informing, it is a question of making a profit.