ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith is getting major heat for the statements he made when speaking to a group of Black students in Alabama.
“Racism doesn’t exist. Obviously, I’m lying. Of course it exists, but not for you," he began his speech. "See, you don’t have to go to the back of the bus. You’re not denied the opportunity to eat at restaurants, or to enter night clubs, or to patronize businesses. You have the right to vote. You’re not being lynched. You’re not being hung,” Smith said, according to USA’s student newspaper The Vanguard, which recorded the speech.
He continued, “You’re older, you know I’m not talking about you. But youngsters, you need to understand that white folks got problems, too. Some of them can’t pay their bills. Some of them are struggling. Some of them are being denied opportunities. And you need to understand that, because when people are going through their own problems, they are not going to lament what your trials and tribulations are.”
The backlash was predictably swift, and though he tried to clarify his statements with this Tweet, he ended up just making things worse:
Check out some of what Twitter had to say:
Steven A. Smith has caught heat in the past for voicing his opinions on race in sports, and society, but this one might be the last straw.
Ironically, back in 2012, Smith spoke with BET about how he overcame doubters and adversity to gain personal success: