- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sports commentator Stephen A. Smith stood by his defense of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s statements on bigotry on Friday.

Mr. Cuban mentioned earlier in the week that he would “cross the street” if he saw a black kid in a hoodie at night, but he also said, “in the same breath” that he would have the same reservations about a bald white guy with tattoos all over his body.

“‘Stephen A. Smith is a sellout,’ ‘Stephen A. Smith is an Uncle Tom,’ ‘Stephen A. Smith ain’t black,’ ‘you ain’t one of us’ — these are the kinds of things that were said to me yesterday,” Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take.”

He continued to defend his position saying members of his community should not expect an apology.

“When I say I don’t give a damn … that does it no justice,” Mr. Smith said. “I stand by everything that I said yesterday tenfold, 100-fold. And I don’t care who in the black community disagrees with me – I’m not interested in their disagreement on this particular issue they are not looking at the bigger picture here.”

Mr. Smith argued that Mr. Cuban made statements regarding both black and white people. He noted that the NBA owner implied a wariness of black men in hoodies and white men with shaved heads and tattoos, The Blaze reported.

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“Everybody wants to ignore that,” Mr. Smith said. “I don’t want to say everybody because I’m not speaking for everybody. … We want to pounce on him making this statement and alluding the black folks or talking about somebody in a hoodie that happens to be black… He talked about the prejudices that exist in all spectrums by all of us. Are we going to sit here and literally act like we don’t have any prejudices?”

The ESPN commentator then addressed the “elephant in the room,” that he believed white people were too afraid to mention because they would be labeled racist.

He talked about black employment rates and said that to some degree there is a level of racism that everyone has to overcome, but that it  “doesn’t mean every single issue is race related.”

“Sometimes it is about the way you present yourself,” he continued. “When I allude to you walking around with your pants hanging down your behind, that’s trifling,” he said.

“When I talk about not having a command of the English language, and still you want a job, and you want to have a career, but you don’t want to get your education, you don’t want to go out there and pound that pavement. Everything’s about the sprint, it’s not about the marathon, it’s not about you putting forth the necessary effort and due diligence over the long haul to get the thing you need. That’s a reality in our community.”

He added that everybody can’t be a Jay Z or Lebron James because they’re “special,” and said that those celebrity figures had not achieved the American dream but instead were living a fantasy-turned-reality.

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“When we talk about the American dream, you know who I think about? Myself,” Mr. smith said.

“Queens, New York City, left back in the fourth grade, grew up poor, the lever of education that I had was a public school system, I ultimately graduate from high school, I go to a historically black institution like Winston-Salem State University, I graduate with honors, there is no journalism program, I still graduate with honors, I still beat out thousands of people to get an internship… and I’m on national TV everyday.

He ended saying that his fellow black community members needed to stop playing into stereotypes that set them up for failure.


• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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