ESPN hypocritical for suspension
The Sports Brothers | 8/7/2014, 9 a.m.
I hope that Stephen A Smith and every other analyst that works for sports giant ESPN today realizes what a hypocritical company they work for. Surely the nice paychecks make up for some of the inadequacies of said employer and Smith could be chilling on the beautiful beaches of St. Thomas right now, but I am disgusted by his suspension last week.
ESPN calls itself the worldwide leader and pays analysts and sports writers to voice their opinions on whatever is trending in sports and pop culture. The sports world is not unlike the real world meaning the two cross paths often. Thus, every now and then sometimes commentators and analysts get thrown into some unfamiliar turf but still they get paid to give an opinion. ESPN thrives on the fact that sometimes Stephen A’s aggressive over-the-top style may attract controversy or even spark criticism. You either love him or you hate him. As Smith often says “Ask me if I give a [darn]”. I love that brash, unapologetic, in- your-face delivery of his. ESPN has benefited from it and splashes Smith all over its screen to be just who he is. I remember Smith going in on Russell Westbrook’s lack of production in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. So hurtful was his criticism of Westbrook’s game that Russell’s parents approached him and asked that he tone it down a bit. After all that was their son who was getting the business on national TV. Tough job, but somebody had to do it. Smith does it and does it very well.
I am not here to apologize for Smith, he did that on his own. Again, he gets paid to give his opinion on sports topics that not only involve X’s and O’s but that can cross over into news topics. Athletes are not fictional characters, they are real people who make real mistakes and must abide by the law like the rest of us. So he offered his opinion on the NFL’s punishment of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Smith admitted that he could have found a better way to say that women can play a role in provoking situations of domestic violence. Sorry ESPN but you cannot have it both ways and clearly that is what they are trying to do by suspending Smith. They look like idiots. The whole idea behind ESPN’s First Take is thought provoking commentary, heated debate, confrontational banter that has viewers watching by the millions. That is what they do, that is why folks both love and hate Skip Bayless and Smith. Every now and then one of them will say something that makes people say “Oh my God! Did he go there?” Newsflash ESPN. That is what you have been selling to America. You cannot choose when you want to be politically correct. The suspension of Smith was purely a PR move and now we will all watch First Take knowing full well, these guys are restricted in what they can or cannot say. First Take has lost some of what made it special and unique. Like my mom, used to say, you cannot have your cake and eat it too . . . that always confused me. Somehow, somewhere I get the feeling Rob Parker might be nodding his head in approval.
The Sports Brothers are Jeff Fox and Ed Freeman