ESPN radio & television personality Stephen A. Smith gets the Weasel ears this week, and it's long overdue.
Smith got in hot water earlier this week for using the N-word on the air on First Take during his daily debate with Skip Bayless, formerly of the Dallas Morning News. Three times in as many years, Smith, who was among the voices critical of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper for using the N-word earlier this summer, has dropped an N-bomb on the air in the course of his commentary. In each case, ESPN suits have blindly covered for him by denying anything actually happened. Media columnists, such as Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News, called out Smith for his obvious hypocrisy and ESPN for protecting him for the sake of popping a rating.
I call BS. African-Americans use the N-word in common conversation among themselves on the streets. I know. I've heard it. Rappers use it in their lyrics, and people wonder why they don't get put under the moral microscope. Smith, because he's on national television, gets grilled by the press, largely because he already has a reputation of being a blowhard on the air.
I listen to him talk, and I picture an African-American reincarnation of the late Howard Cosell. Is he loud & obnoxious? Yes. Overbearing? Definitely. He doesn't know when to shut up sometimes. Controversial? You betcha. Here's an idea, Stephen. If you need an N-word to use with "please" in a sentence, let me recommend "Number", as in, your number may soon be up if ESPN's corporate parent, Disney, decides they've had enough of your antics. They say controversy creates cash---and ratings---but in this case, ignorance isn't bliss.