ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith didn’t hold back when speaking about Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving this Wednesday on First Take.
Earlier this week, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Irving has not fulfilled New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement because he intends to take a stand against vaccine mandates in solidarity with unvaccinated workers who are losing their jobs. That report isn’t sitting well with Smith.
Smith believes Irving’s stance on the COVID-19 vaccine mandates is “some of the stupidest nonsense” he has ever seen.
“So you don’t have a problem with taking the vaccine,” Smith said on First Take. “Your position is that you’re going to sit up there and compromise the championship aspirations of an organization you signed on to represent – you coaxed Kevin Durant into signing on to represent, you played a role in coaxing James Harden into signing on to represent? You’re going to compromise all that because you want to give a voice to the voiceless? Really?
“And how is that going to work out for you, Kyrie Irving? You’re going to disappear from the game of basketball, who the hell is going to be interested in what you have to say when you have proven that you can’t even be trusted enough to do your damn job? A job you volunteered for.”
Damn right I said this S&&@ about Kyrie Irving. And I meant every damn word. Nobody’s backing up pic.twitter.com/3gtE2N5tF3
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) October 13, 2021
Smith’s comments about Irving clearly bothered NBA fans around the country. Some people believe he’s too hard on the All-Star point guard.
“It’s funny how Stephen A Smith is always calling Kyrie selfish, but the reason Max Kellerman isn’t on first take anymore is simply because Stephen A didn’t like him,” one viewer tweeted.
It’s funny how Stephen A Smith is always calling Kyrie selfish, but the reason Max Kellerman isn’t on first take anymore is simply because Stephen A didn’t like him
— Zek 💫 (@ThatBoyZek) October 13, 2021
Other people noticed that Smith was unable to speak calmly with his colleagues this Wednesday because he was too animated about this subject. At one point during this Wednesday’s First Take, Smith went off on Jay Williams.
“I was taught this and it remains true to this day. When people are losing arguments they result to name-calling. Thats exactly what Stephen A did here… More on this later,” another viewer said.
I was taught this and it remains true to this day. When people are losing arguments they result to name-calling. Thats exactly what Stephen A did here… More on this later https://t.co/TXpwkc2EyB
— Jeff Lightsy Jr. (@jlightsy7) October 13, 2021
This isn’t the first or last time we’ll see Smith be this animated on First Take.
It’ll be interesting to see what Smith has to say on Thursday about the backlash he’s receiving on social media.