ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith found himself at the center of controversy after alluding to an unnamed individual during a segment in which he addressed criticisms from fellow sports analyst, Marcellus Wiley. Many on the internet quickly speculated that Smith’s comments were directed towards conservative sports commentator Jason Whitlock.
Smith’s remarks came after Wiley criticized him for perceived hypocrisy over colleague Max Kellerman’s departure from the show First Take. During the segment, Smith refrained from directly naming anyone but said, “There’s one particular person who will remain nameless but I will not deny it – I think he is a fat, no-good b***ard who I despise to the core.
“But it doesn’t mean that I wish him harm. It is not Marcellus Wiley that I am talking about. It ain’t hard to figure out who I am talking about,” Smith added. “But even then I don’t wish him harm. Even though he has made a career out of wishing others the worst. And no, I’m not talking about Marcellus Wiley again. I’m not talking about my former colleagues on First Take.
“No, not talking about them. They ain’t fat b***ards who are seeds of the devil, wishing nothing but black folks harm. But I will leave that for another day when the time is right,” Smith stated.
Whitlock, not one to shy away from confrontation, responded on his own show. He expressed disappointment in Smith’s comments, wishing the animosity wasn’t present.
Whitlock also shed light on what he believes are Smith’s motivations for the indirect jabs, stating, “What he’s done, is that he’s in hot water with black Twitter, black audience, whatever. His dispute with Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley isn’t going well. So what he’s saying to the audience, and the whole purpose of why he did this whole segment on Marcellus, was so he could direct the animus” towards Whitlock.
Let's have an honest conversation about Stephen A. Smith and his comments about me, Marcellus Wiley and Max Kellerman. pic.twitter.com/ZBcMeteZYW
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) October 12, 2023
“‘Let me hide behind Whitlock, I don’t like him anyway. Here’s the real Uncle Tom.’” He later called Smith’s behavior “cowardly.”
This incident underscores an ongoing public spat between the sports analysts. Smith, who is usually a fan favorite, has faced an unusual amount of criticism recently. With this episode, it appears the focus has shifted from the Smith-Wiley disagreement to a potential Smith-Whitlock feud.