Welp, leave it to Stephen A. Smith to stick his foot in his mouth.
The famed sports TV personality is under fire following comments he made about Major League Baseball star Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani, who is Japanese and plays for the Los Angeles Angels, was criticized by Smith for needing an interpreter. During Monday’s episode of ESPN’s First Take, Smith told all those watching that Ohtani not speaking English was bad for the sport. In regards to filling seats for future MLB games, Smith commented in part:
“I don’t think it helps that the no. 1 face is a dude that needs an interpreter, so you can understand what the hell he’s saying… in this country.”
See the tasteless moment below.
Smith is no stranger to pissing fans off, but the internet agrees this comment was “low” even for him. Many have also pointed out the fact that the country is already fighting increased violence aimed at the Asian community, after Trump’s “Chinese virus” rhetoric. See some responses from social media below.
“This xenophobic stance by Stephen A. Smith isn’t just an off the cuff ‘hot take.’ This isn’t ‘barbershop talk.’ This is a produced segment. This ‘take’ is accompanied by graphics. This ‘take’ is a segment that was previously discussed in morning meetings.” – @LeftSentThis
“A one minute clip with no basketball analysis and pure disrespect to the names of our culture. Do better please @stephenasmith. This is low, even for you.” – @NigeriaBasket
Stephen A. Smith has since doubled down on his remarks, saying in a video post that he is referring to the “marketability” of the sport and that speaking English helps with promotion. See his follow-up tweets below and chime in with your thoughts.