Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Weasel of the Week: Stephen A. Smith

Ya knew this was going to happen, right?

A story making the rounds on Monday has to do with ESPN yakker Stephen A. Smith using his pulpit on First Take to all but accuse Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly of racism. Why? Because the Eagles cut two of their skill position stars, only to see them sign with other teams (the deals will be finalized later today). Running back LeSean McCoy joins an already crowded backfield in Buffalo, meaning Rex Ryan may have to cut incumbents Fred Jackson and/or C. J. Spiller to make room, and wideout Jeremy Maclin opted to reunite with his original coach, Andy Reid, in Kansas City.

And Smith thinks this makes Kelly a racist? Hello? Reality check time.

To replace McCoy, the Eagles apparently plan to sign Frank Gore, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers. QB Mark Sanchez just reupped for 5 more years, and he's part-Latino, as if you couldn't tell. I would venture to say that a large percentage of the Eagles roster is comprised of African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans. That also applies to every NFL team. Bear in mind that Smith didn't come right out and make an accusation that would obviously be recanted within minutes if he actually did point a finger at Kelly.

He also forgets that Kelly has had a succession of star African-American running backs at Oregon. LeGarrette Blount, for example, just won a Super Bowl with the Patriots. No, this was business as usual for Smith, who thinks he's this generation's Howard Cosell, just in the way he talks. Just because he used to be based in Philadelphia doesn't make Smith an authority on Philadelphia sports. He's just out of touch.

No, what Smith ended up doing was setting himself up for ridicule from other media outlets' writers, reading between the lines. He also set himself up for a set of Weasel ears for even inferring a false accusation leveled at a well-respected coach. Considering that Smith moonlights as a talking stomach in beef jerky ads, should we be at all surprised that he is out of touch? With reality, that is.

Update: The latest word is that Gore won't sign with Philadelphia after all, but is headed instead to Indianapolis. To clarify Smith's remarks, it suggests not so much racism, but that Chip Kelly seems to prefer certain kinds of personalities. Either way, Smith, with no evidence to support his bombast, has to adhere to the credo, "don't just sing it, bring it".

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