ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith loudly voiced his criticism of Colin Kaepernick after the free agent quarterback’s NFL workout on Saturday. In the process, Smith drew the ire of many Kaepernick supporters.
Today, Smith attempted to clarify his remarks in a monologue on First Take. The veteran TV personality said his issue with Kaepernick was how he handled his workout, not the overall message of the social justice protest he engaged in the last time he played in the league.
“I sat up here yesterday and I spoke about how his points are eradicated, I’m not talking about the kneeling. I’m not talking about the protesting,” Smith said. “I’m a black man, you idiots. You think I have a problem with a man that is kneeling and protesting racial oppression and police brutality? Do you know anything about my history in 25 years in this damn business?”
In Smith’s mind, Kaepernick did not live up to his assertion that he “desperately” wants back in the NFL because of how he conducted himself on Saturday.
“If you show up to a workout with a ‘Kunta Kinte’ t-shirt on, if you have the workout after bucking their offer on Saturday, then you have the press conference afterwards and take no questions, but you’re looking into the cameras and antagonizing the NFL, what you’re doing is getting in the way of your own aspiration to get back [in the league],” Smith explained.
Listen to this, Damnit! pic.twitter.com/o8W8ZFWZ3x
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) November 19, 2019
The on-camera comments by Kaepermick that Smith is referring to occurred after the session in front of supporters, media and NFL scouts at an Atlanta area high school.
“The ball’s in their [the NFL’s] court. We’re ready to go,” Kaepernick said.
You can view the quarterback’s full statement below.
Colin Kaepernick made a 90 second statement before leaving pic.twitter.com/QlH2RTnLp5
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 16, 2019
As for Smith, we’re not sure if his attempt to clear things up today will win him any favor with Kaepernick or others who support him. However, it did provide for great television and crystallized Smith’s point of view for others to see.