It Took a Black Woman to Finally Silence Stephen A. Smith, But It Didn’t Last Long

Every woman on the planet currently knows, or used to know a guy, around whom they have to choose their words very carefully, because the minute they say something slightly negative, it becomes a whole thing. The men get defensive, their feelings are hurt and it instantly becomes all about them and whatever you were discussing doesn’t matter.

The clearest example of this type of guy is on television every day — his name is Stephen A. Smith. The ESPN star is the lead analyst on one of the network’s most popular shows, “First Take,” notable for the heated arguments that frequently break out between Smith and his colleagues.

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On Monday’s episode, while discussing Chennedy Carter’s hard foul on Caitlin Clark in Saturday’s game between the Chicago Sky and the Indiana Fever, things got particularly spicy with NBA/WNBA/NCAA basketball analyst Monica McNutt.

Smith was once again floating the idea that WNBA veterans are targeting Clark on the court because they’re jealous of all the attention she’s getting. For the record, real women’s basketball experts who regularly follow the game have asserted that this is a completely false narrative, including McNutt. In the debate with Smith, she explained that women are just as competitive as men and that passion for the sport comes with physicality.

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“We’re still talking about competition, where you are allowed to get a little extra elbow in if you are competing and you do it in the parameters of the game,” she said. “The game is physical; Caitlin is helping to grow the league; these women understand that, but she cannot be babied as a rookie!”

Later in the segment, when Smith asked who talks about the WNBA more than “First Take,” McNutt stunned him by responding, “Respectfully, with your platform, you could have been doing this three years ago if you wanted to.” All Smith had to say to that was “wow.”

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As the internet went wild with posts about how she “cooked,” “destroyed” and “murdered” him, you knew Smith couldn’t leave it there. Later in the day, on his podcast he addressed the issue, calling McNutt’s claims against “First Take” “highly offensive.”

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He went on to talk about all the women analysts who get featured on the show, specifically naming McNutt, Chiney Ogwumike, Kimberly A. Martin, Mina Kimes and host Molly Qerim.

This is all true, but she McNutt didn’t call Smith out on “diversity in the workplace.” She questioned how much they talk about the WNBA on the show. And despite his assertion that the show discusses it more than other sports shows, regular viewers will tell you that until this season, they were not talking about women’s basketball every morning. So he can do all the condescending rants he wants, but if you watch the show, you know what’s up.

Respectfully Monica McNutt, you are wrong about this

“Now, I have sat back for years and taken a lot of shit from people. Some who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Some who act like they don’t know because they want to get at me. I could care less about people getting at me. I just want you to be accurate. And it is highly offensive to me when somebody implies or flat-out states — like Monica McNutt did — which was factually incorrect,” Smith said.

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“I challenge anybody to find a show in sports television that discusses women’s issues, that discusses the WNBA or women’s sports, that highlights and profiles female analysts more than ‘First Take.’”

Smith also noted how the WNBA hasn’t done enough to make the league more popular. Well, a major name in sports media regularly discussing games on his daily talk show would help. He can’t say they’re not garnering enough support while simultaneously not giving the league any airtime. That’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that lets him pass the blame.

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The WNBA plays in the summer when all “First Take” has to talk about is NFL training camps and the NBA Draft. They don’t really get into MLB, so that leaves plenty of time to focus on basketball instead of constantly yelling about how grateful these athletes all need to be to Caitlin Clark.

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