Stephen A. Smith dropped a bombshell recently about Black athletes that somehow didn’t crack the Twitter,-er,-X-verse, at least not with the usual velocity. On a recent podcast episode with Los Angeles Clippers player Paul George, Smith revealed that Black athletes are a little touchier about tough questions when asked by Black journalists.
He praised George for joining the increasingly crowded ranks of athletes, active and retired, with podcasts. George’s show is called Podcast P With Paul George and is on all the usual platforms. George said that he became a podcaster so that he can create his own narrative instead of one crafted by the media.
“It’s coming from me now,” George said, “it’s my story.”
Smith said that while he applauded the move, many players make it harder on Black journalists when it’s time to ask the tough questions.
“You’re right to do that,” he said about George’s decision to tell his own story his way. “And anyone who tells you you’re wrong, you’re not wrong. But there’s a flip side to that.”
He added, “You got to understand that everybody has a job to do. The last thing they want to do is come up to you and ask you that [tough] question. They have no choice because their job is on the line, and no matter how bad your game was that day, your contract’s guaranteed, and it’s for a gazillion times more than that journalist made.”
Smith said that in his experience, Black athletes don’t have the same energy for NBA “insiders” like Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania, neither of whom are Black (Charania is Pakistani-American) when they dislike the questions they’re asked.
“It’s because the journalist asked them about something that they were hearing,” Smith said. “And they brought up the brotha. But when Woj reported it, or Shams reported it, you ain’t say sh-t. That’s when Stephen A., that Bronx, that Queens, comes out. So we gon’ call that brotha out, making $75-85 thousand, that they can wipe off the map in a heartbeat and you f-cking know it, and you would do that to him?”
Smith says he wanted to give George another perspective even though he favors athletes being in control of what’s said about them and how they respond. But as he concluded, “If you come on my show and you got arrested last night, I got an obligation to ask you what happened.”
Peep the entire interview here and see how social media’s reacting to Stephen A. Smith’s take on athletes’ relationship with journalists below.