Stephen A. and New Racism in Sports

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ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith likes big words, and he’s essentially a walking, talking thesaurus for various uses of the words ludicrous, ridiculous, preposterous, and absurd. If I had to attach a word to Stephen A.’s latest foray into the realm of race-baiting sports commentary, I would say farcical. Or, as Stephen A. might say, “a farcical cacophony of craziness, bordering on mythic proportions.”

As reported in Breitbart Sports: “On Monday’s First Take on ESPN2, co-host Stephen A. Smith was asked what his reaction was to NASCAR driver Kurt Busch being suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for domestic violence with his ex-girlfriend.”

Stephen A. opined thusly: “The reason why this story resonated with me, Skip Bayless, is because I wanted to highlight something that needs to be mentioned that black folks, myself included, have lamented for many, many years. Kurt Busch gets cited for domestic violence by a judge. OK, yes, he gets suspended by NASCAR. We appreciate that. Where’s the public outcry? Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, McDonald in San Francisco, even though that case ultimately was dropped … America needs to understand that if you happen to be black, when stuff like this happens, and you see how it just gets mentioned in the news and it’s pointed out there and it’s discussed because ESPN clearly did its job. The other networks clearly did their job in highlighting it. When you talk about public uproar, where’s the uproar with what Kurt Busch allegedly did?”

Essentially, Stephen A. is upset that when white athletes are accused of sexual assault, rape, or domestic violence, there doesn’t seem to be the same public outcry as when black athletes face the same accusations. Somewhere Duke lacrosse players Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann, and Dave Evans are shedding a tear. Stephen A. conveniently forgets that the sports media he is part of, and to a large extent the network he works for at ESPN, spearheaded arguably the single most ruthless instance of character assassination in the history of American media when they, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever, attempted to destroy three completely innocent white lacrosse players in the court of public opinion.

My book Bias in the Booth goes deep into the Duke lacrosse case, showing how media criticism of the players actually intensified as evidence proving the players’ innocence emerged. ESPN legal “expert” Lester Munson even called for the players to come forward and admit guilt after it was clear they were not guilty.

There’s something fouler in Smith’s words here that can’t be explained away by what happened in Durham, and that’s the constant drive to divide — the calling card of the liberal media elite who seek any and all avenues to interject the poison of racial strife. Especially where it need not be.

The reason the public was in uproar over Ray Rice and in relative downroar over Kurt Busch should be obvious to Stephen A. First, Ray Rice is/was an NFL football player. The NFL is the Seinfeld of major American sports. NASCAR is its Carrot Top. So when athletes/competitors in these respective sports get into trouble, why should anyone be surprised they don’t garner equal amounts of “outcry”?

More important, we had video of Ray Rice beating his wife. We knew for a fact that he beat her, because we saw it (on networks like ESPN) repeatedly. The level of public outcry against Rice pre-video wasn’t even in the same galaxy as the reaction post-video. Had there been no video, Ray Rice would have served his two-game suspension and continued playing for the Ravens. He had his contract nuked and is, as of this writing, still looking to catch on with a team because he was caught on tape. Not caught while black. 

If there were video of Busch choke-slamming his girlfriend, the reaction would absolutely be stronger.

Was there no public outcry when white NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape? A 2010 ABC News article detailed the fan backlash against him in light of the accusations: “The Facebook page ‘Not being raped by Ben Roethlisberger’ is ‘liked’ by nearly 52,000 users,” which far exceeded “the nearly 41,400 users who ‘like’ his athlete page.” 

In that same 2010 article, we learned that Roethlisberger lost local sponsorships in Pittsburgh due to fan anger toward him. National sports talk radio was filled with fan vitriol toward Roethlisberger on shows like mine and many others for weeks after the incident became public.

All this public outcry directed at a white NFL football player. A quarterback no less. So … white privilege?

Stephen A. knows all this. So why does he stoke the racial flames using completely bogus apples and oranges comparisons? Because race has become a business in sports media, used as both ratings-getter and battering-ram to advance the agenda of the leftists who currently run “Big Sports.” 

The absence of 20th-century-style institutionalized racism has forced the new racism of the 21st century into the alphabet soup of network studios that bring you your daily sports news. Box scores and highlight reels, with a side of racial strife and division. Except these people aren’t consumed with making racism go away, as were the activists of the past. These activists are here to make sure it stays.

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