Sunday, May 16, 2021

Stephen A. Smith Schools White Athlete Whining About Racism in Sports

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: Stephen A. Smith attends the Paley Prize Gala honoring ESPN's 35th anniversary presented by Roc Nation Sports on May 28, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Paley Center for Media)
NEW YORK, NY – MAY 28: Stephen A. Smith attends the Paley Prize Gala honoring ESPN’s 35th anniversary presented by Roc Nation Sports on May 28, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Paley Center for Media)

*On Friday’s edition of ESPN’s “First Take,” Stephen A. Smith responded to Stanford University running back Christian McCaffrey’s statements in Sports Illustrated about being irritated by stereotypes of white athletes. McCaffrey believes his race plays a role in the way he’s perceived as an athlete, and that his athleticism isn’t fully appreciated because he is white.

“When you read about white athletes these days and white skill possession receivers specifically, one word you’ll always find is tough,” McCaffrey told the publication. “You’ll rarely see explosive, athletic, stuff like that. … You get a little bit upset: ‘I ran the same 40 as this guy, and you’re calling him … .’ People do the eye test and underestimate me, so I do play with a chip on my shoulder.”

READ RELATED STORY: Stephen A. Smith Says Racism ‘Doesn’t Exist’ for College Students

Atlantic Black Star notes how last season, McCaffrey “broke legendary Oklahoma State and Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders’ all-purpose rush and receiving yards record of 3,250 yards. McCaffrey surpassed him with an astonishing 3,864 yards.” This achievement did not garner him the coveted Heisman Trophy, and for that reason, he believes he was slighted.

Smith agrees that McCaffrey does not get enough credit. However, the sports journalist and commentator points out that Black people have also felt jilted in many aspects of their professional lives.

“Christian McCaffrey deserves more respect, more recognition than he is receiving. He is a white guy that is not receiving it because of the color of his skin and the position that he plays,” Smith said. “There’s a whole bunch of Black folks that feel exactly the same way about different positions — even in different professions every day we wake up. As Black people — particularly Black men — we find ourselves looking at situations and saying ‘if we were white it would be different.’ ”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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