Stephen A. Smith, as he suggests, might have to slow down when speaking.
The boisterous ESPN analyst took some heat on Thursday after saying what many believed was a racial slur during a conversation with Dahntay Jones of the Dallas Mavericks on ESPN‘s First Take. According to Smith, however, he never said such.
Smith — speaking in his usual loud, opinionated manner — was discussing Kobe Bryant‘s injury and the possibility of the superstar missing the Lakers’ season opener when the apparent slip-up occurred.
“[Expletive], please,” Smith appeared to say in a rather dismissive tone.
The quick comment didn’t go unnoticed, as Twitter was immediately set ablaze, as is the case whenever something controversial happens nowadays. ESPN even cut the word from its rebroadcast of the show after the Internet firestorm.
Smith denies that he used the slur, though, insisting that the misunderstanding is instead a product of his New York accent.
“Obviously, there have been numerous reports out there that I’ve uttered a word I should not have uttered. I’m going to repeat this one more time. I did not do so,” Smith said later on ESPN. “I am a New Yorker. I speak very, very fastly, and sometimes my words are misconstrued, and I get that.
“And I were to say such a word, because I work for this network, because this network would never condone such a thing, I would instantly issue an apology, because obviously it would be a huge mistake on my part if I did utter such a word. But I did not,” Smith continued. “I was speaking fast, and I can understand how I can be misconstrued for those who were listening to me. But I did not utter that word.”
Smith seems pretty adamant that he did not say — or in his words, “utter” — the slur that most seem to think he did. It should be noted, however, that this is the second time Smith has had
to address a situation like this, as he was believed to have used the
word on a previous occasion as well.
Smith admits that he might have to make some changes in order to ensure a similar situation doesn’t happen in the future.
“Maybe I need to slow down, make sure I articulate myself clearly and precisely every single word that I utter out of my mouth,” Smith said. “But please understand, I did not say the things that they are reporting that I said. And hopefully, I will not ever have to address this again.”
So, if you happen to notice a toned down version of Stephen A. Smith going forward, you now know why.