Archive for Stephen A. Smith

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith: Great Voice Wrong Message: Fighting Against the NFL’s N-word Policy

Posted in Black Men, Sports News with tags , , , , on October 5, 2014 by Gary Johnson


By H. Lewis Smith

During the course of a nationally-televised football game on September 14, 2014, the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick called Chicago Bears’ defensive end Lamarr Houston the n-word (n**ga). It was then that a referee (who happened to be white) penalized Kaepernick for use of the vitriolic; the penalty resulted in an $11,025 fine.
On September 23, 2014, on national TV, ESPN’s First Take commentator Stephen A. Smith took issue with the policy. He presented an arousing and passionate response to the enforcement of the policy that he diametrically opposes. Smith feels it is okay for two African-American athletes to “trash talk” one another on the field, and if the term is spoken, then so be it. Smith argues that the rest of the world isn’t “sensitive” to how the athletes were raised and that, perhaps, in their neighborhoods and homes, the n-word was acceptable and a term of endearment.

Smith’s main point of concern, however, is that a white referee penalizing a black player for use of the n-word is egregious and offensive to him. Sadly, there are many who agree with him. Smith goes on to say that though he has deep respect for Mr. John B. Wooten, Chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance and the black man who spearheaded the movement for the NFL to adopt such a policy, he’s in complete disagreement with Wooten. He further attempts to paint a picture that the “older heads” (or older generation) including Mr. Wooten and others need to listen to the “younger heads” (or younger generation) such as himself and others when it comes to penalizing and fining NFL athletes for use of the n-word.

Moreover, although Smith seemed to have made a convicted argument as to why the n-word should not be a point of discussion or penalty, it needs to be pointed out that there are many capable and brilliant young heads who are not searching for pseudo-intellectual reasons to refer to themselves or any member of their race as n**ga. In fact, some young heads may have listened to that argument and heard nothing but ignorance spew from the mouth of a seemingly gifted speaker and well-educated African-American man. Some too may have immediately seen that Mr. Smith is a primary example of the systemic veiling of the populous, twisting of the black man’s mentality to continue to argue for inferiority, and the working of the very essence of the 400-year-old plight.

In “The Mis-Education of the Negro”, Dr. Carter G. Woodson said:
“If you can control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.”

Smith may believe that he represents the voice of the entire younger generation, but he does not. It is a known fact that many younger generation parents educate their children on the term and view it as a disrespectful profanity. The term is forbidden as everyday language in many Black households across America, and cannot be used—not even when one wants to use the term as so-called endearment or to cut down the confidence of anyone. Even further, many African-American children are taught to not only refrain from referring to anyone as such, but should also not allow anyone else to refer to them as such. Respect is a two-way street: it must be given and received.

To the contrary, Smith only represents that fraction of society that continues to lean in and remain shackled in the darkness. The ears of the enlightened have listened to that commentary and yelled at or argued back with the sentiments made. However, their voices simply cannot be heard because they do not have access to the news media to espouse their beliefs as does a Stephen A. Smith and some other proponents of the n-word (n**ga). And when they do share their views, they are considered troublemakers, too sensitive, or disillusioned; because they tend to be met with so much conflict from within and without the community, many times their arguments are suffocated or the cultural in-fighting takes center stage more so than the actual issue at hand.

Younger generation celebrities like Stephen A. Smith are to be applauded for their individual achievements; however, Black America’s paradigm should be to the commitment of the entire race’s preservation as a group, and not limited to the success of individuals, which unfortunately is the mindset of Black America. Until Black African Americans, as a group, can learn to separate themselves from the n-word the shackles of mental slavery will always remain intact.

Another thing: By saying the “young heads” vs. the “old heads”, Smith has promoted further separation within the Black community that is not going unseen—even Skip Bayless referred to this “cultural clash” within the Black community. The most unfortunate part is that, again, so long as the Black community remains divided, African Americans will never be able to re-unite, come together as a single being of force, and regain the cultural dignity and superior status divinely-granted upon the race. Instead, people like Smith continue to carry out the plight of White America ignorantly and unadulterated.
Now, truly, there is some agreement that a white-ruled NFL having to chastise black players for their use of the n-word is a bit brow-raising. The primary concern is that it should never have come to a white-run organization agreeing to help police the word if not for the Black community dropping the ball on this issue. Use of the n-word is a Black African-American issue, which should have been resolved within the community decades ago; instead, it has been allowed to fester.

By requiring the NFL or any other entity, organization or person outside of the Black community to regulate use of the n-word, smacks of paternalism. It is as if the Black community is unable to self-determine and self-regulate and, therefore, needs the white man to save them from themselves. Use of the degrading and demeaning term n**ga has grown far out of hand. In order for Black America to regain its full cultural respect and not have to expend its precious energy on such self-imposed issues—which in this case is really fighting over whose allowed to tell African Americans they cannot use the word (when NO ONE should need to be told because they should not be using the term in the first place), use of the term needs to be cut down dead in its tracks and buried by all.

Stephen A. Smith on a couple of occasions used the n-word on national TV and never got as much as a slap on the wrist for it. And as he openly evangelizes the support of the n-word, his spill is given full airtime—he’s allowed to go on this rampage campaigning for use of the n-word with not one cut or edit. Conversely, most recently when he slipped and used the word “provoke” relative to comments he was making about the Ray Rice case and domestic violence, white women were offended by it. As a consequence, Smith was suspended for seven days from his job.

But as Wooten goes on his rampage about using the n-word, Black America does or says nothing. However, Mr. Wooten recognized that, sadly, since the Black community refuses to address the matter themselves and hold all members within and without the community accountable to upholding and respecting Black Americans, he was required to approach the NFL to demand the respect many self-respecting Black Americans deserve. Had Mr. Wooten not taken this step, the blatant disrespect would have continued to fester at an even more severe rate. The reality is that Black America refuses to address the issue and does not want anyone else doing it either.

Unfortunately, Black America, collectively, just does not get it. The community refuses to remove the DO NOT DISTURB sign outside its door, refusing to WAKE UP.

Use of the n-word today is trans-generational and is the one and ONLY reason why the term still flows from the lips of contemporary Black African Americans. Black users of the term are allowing themselves to be defined by a racist term as opposed to defining themselves, for the reality is that the term n**ga is simply ghetto vernacular for n**ger, obviously there ISN’T any difference between the two.

h-lewis-smith H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc., author of Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word, and the recently released book Undressing the N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth, Lies, Deceit and Mind Games

Winston Salem State Graduates Bamboozled: Stephen A. Smith Talking Out of Both Sides of His Mouth

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Sports News with tags , on June 20, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Harold Bell

In a story written in The Winston-Salem Journal on Sunday May 15, 2011, by Annette Fuller, Stephen A. Smith, an ESPN commentator and sports journalist, told the graduating students at Winston-Salem State University that they could party that night, rest on Sunday and then go out and find a job on Monday morning.

He said, “If you want to be somebody, you’ve got to annihilate the competition.”  Smith, graduated from WSSU in 1991.

He went on to say “Anything less is a waste of your time and a waste for the people who believe in you.  And once you give the world your all, “you have to do it over and over and over again,” he said. “I’m in no mood to mince words,” he said in the commencement speech from the podium.

He told the graduates to look up in the stands and wave to their parents and family.  “They’re not happy for you,” he said. “They’re happy for them. They don’t want you anymore. They’re happy because now you get to pay your own phone bill,” he said to laughter and applause.

In the spring of 2011, “entering the world is as serious as it gets,” Smithsaid. “We have over 13 million unemployed.”  The question is: “What is waiting for you?” he asked the graduates.

“For those who are lazy: nothing. For those looking for shortcuts: nothing,” he said. “It’s every man for himself out there.”

He said he has no use for those who constantly say, “It’s not fair.”

“One of my bosses once told me, ‘Fair is a place where they judge pigs,'” he said. “Nobody cares about fairness. Everybody is out there trying to get theirs,” and you’ve got to compete against them, keeping morals and ethics always in mind, he said.

Nobody wants to hear excuses, he said. Nobody wants to hear, “They’re keeping me down.”  “No, you’re keeping yourself down,” he said. “Saying that is an excuse to accept mediocrity. You’re looking for people to blame instead of looking in the mirror.”

Also, nobody wants to hear about your suffering, he said.  “With the budget deficit and with all the unemployment, we’re all suffering,” he said.  Consider yourself full-fledged Winston-Salem StateRams, he said.  “You are now officially trained, educated, armed and dangerous,” he said. “Go forth now and steamroll over the competition.”

In the November 2010 issue of Essence Magazine in a far reaching panel discussion titled “Race In America” Stephen A. Smith was on a panel that included the Rev. Al Sharpton (National Action Network), Soledad O’Brien (CNN), Ben Jealous (NAACP) Tricia Rose (Brown University), Sheryl Underwood (Comedian) and several other noted community advocates.

The discussion took a turn for the worst for Stephen A. Smith when the moderator, Bob Evans (Deputy Editor of Essence) asked the question to know one in particular “Does the heighten racism surprise you or disappoint you?

Ben Jealous: It was disappointing but not surprising.  Racism so infects our national discourse that we still think the majority of crack users in this country are Black.  White people are 65% of crack users.

Stephen A. Smith:  If I went on my radio show and said that, we’d have a problem.

Tricia Rose: Why?

Stephen A. Smith: I’m in 207 markets across the country and most of it is Middle America, which is a termn for white America.  They don’t want to hear that.

Tricia Rose: How do you know?

Stephen A. Smith: Because the White folks who make the decisions, who show you the numbers (he forgot to say, “And sign my check”), will point out that White America does not want to hear it.  It is like pulling teeth to get them to engage in a dialogue about race (I am going along to get along).

Stephen A. Smith: “You should have your own show on CNN”, he says to Soledad O’Brien!

Sheryl Underwood: Tell me why?

Stephen A. Smith: If you give her that platform, what is the likelihood of her addressing the very issues we are discussing?  She is not going to hesitate.

My Interpretation of Stephen A. Smith’s response; “I work for a white radio station that is heard in 207 markets in Klu Klux Klan territory and they don’t want to hear that shit!  I am getting paid Top Dollar and I am not about jeopardized my good J-O-B! 

“Soledad, you should have your own show on CNN in prime time because you are not afraid to discuss these types of issues.  I don’t have the balls to discuss racial issues on my show.”

 My question to Stephen A. Smith; How can you deliver the commencement address to grads telling them “If you want to be somebody, you have got to annihilate the competition” when you are running scare?  Something is wrong with this picture!   

This type of dialogue goes back to us owning our own media outlets and stop fronting for “The Man.”

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television. Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities. The show and format became wildly popular. Who better than Harold Bell to put together classic interviews with his legendary celebrity friends.

Dez Bryant: Fool or Victim?

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Gary A. Johnson, Guest Columnists, Sports News with tags , , on March 25, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson

Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Dez Bryant is the talk of Big D and that is not a good thing.  Bryant is beginning to become more famous for his off the field activities than for his moves on the football field.  Earlier this week it was reported that Bryant was kicked out of a Dallas area mall for having his pant sag so low that you could see his underwear.  You would think that a grown man would know better, but age nor the money you make is no guarantee for common sense.  Bryant is walking proof that common sense, “ain’t that common.”

Bryant was also given a criminal trespass warning and told to leave the mall.  Reportedly Dez and his boys got a little rowdy and started to argue with the police and were issued warnings by the police.  Dez and crew decided to launch a series of profanity lace tirades in a public mall for being asked to pull their pants up.  Bryant has alleged that he was a victim of “profiling.”  Unbelievable.

What the hell is wrong with these “man-child” breed of men who just don’t get it?  Chris Brown doesn’t get it.  Dez Bryant doesn’t get it.  I could go on and make a long list of brothers who just don’t seem to get it.  And I’m not just talking about young brothers.  Lawrence Taylor doesn’t get it either.

Back to Bryant. columnist Stephen A. Smith has an interesting perspective on this situation.  Never short of an opinion, Smith says Bryant is a fool.  Some blogger have criticized Stephen A. saying the columnist is being too hard on the Cowboys Wide Receiver.

Read Stephen A. Smith’s commentary below.

Ignorance is ignorance. It’s never bliss. Whether you’re with your honey, or driving a nice ride, living in affluence or, in the latest case, being a member of the Dallas Cowboys, it is simply never, ever a good idea to become conspicuous for being clueless. Naturally, most of us have better things to do with our time than to develop the insatiable need to tell this to Dez Bryant. But since his evident stupidity seems to be a bit contagious, perhaps it’s time to tell it like it is.

Bryant’s not an idiot. He just appears to be one. And if he continues to behave the way he reportedly behaved at the NorthPark Center mall in Dallas this past weekend, that stigma will be the kind of permanent fixture on his profile destined to cost him big-time dollars, and possibly his burgeoning career with the Cowboys.

And rightfully so.

You do not get into arguments with a police officer. Especially when it appears that police officer actually had a point and, quite honestly, you don’t. While we’re still unsure as to whether it may have been a crime for Bryant or his friends to be walking around a public mall with their pants hanging below their backsides, being asked to pull his pants up doesn’t fall under the category of “profiling.”

There would be no need to even address subjects like this, of course, had it not been for Bryant getting flagged with a criminal trespass warning by off-duty officers after exposing his underwear and buttocks to patrons at the mall over the weekend, according to police.

But now we need to address it because Bryant, essentially, asked us to by getting into yet another incident at a public mall.

“The outcome could have been avoided if the parties involved had simply complied with instructions given by the involved officers,” Dallas Police said via a statement.

The statement almost comes across as sounding sensitive toward what was not Bryant’s first incident at the mall where police said he had previously been involved in a “major disturbance” at a restaurant involving a woman, a parking violation and also cutting a line in a store. Perhaps, however, it’s time that we leave sensitivity out of the equation.

Nobody wants to see someone walking around in their drawers in a mall. Since when does education need to be provided on this issue?

Two-year-olds kick their legs up for their parents to put their pants on over their diapers. Kids learn to pull up their pants before they can speak in full sentences. Children can’t go out in public without being dressed, yet suddenly grown adults don’t know the difference?

Dez Bryant’s latest foray wasn’t a venture into lawlessness, just continued prancing toward rebelliousness and belligerence. There’s no excuse for it so there shouldn’t be any explanation for it, either. But since he tried, the rest of us might as well stop avoiding doing so ourselves.

“It really wasn’t me in the wrong,” Bryant told, evidently, diming out his boys.

What Bryant doesn’t realize is that by saying so, he’s basically acknowledging they were wrong. Which means he knew it was the wrong thing to do. Which explains why he’s distancing himself.

So much for justifying his mouthing off to law-enforcement officials.

What there is absolutely no justification for is Bryant, his boys or anyone else wearing their pants below their backsides. Nobody needed President Barack Obama to say so over a year ago. We all knew it anyway.

This need to create fashion statements, using prison garb, tendencies, etc., to do it, is not just an act of stupidity but futility.

What do you think?

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