ESPN First Take host Stephen A. Smith didn’t hold back his feelings earlier this week when talking about Brooklyn Nets player Ben Simmons.
Simmons was reportedly on track to make an appearance on the court for Brooklyn during the Nets’ first-round NBA Playoffs series against the Boston Celtics. But Simmons never suited up, and the Nets got swept.
Actor Jamie Foxx heard what Stephen A. Smith said about Simmons and offered his own comments in defense of Simmons. He also questioned Smith’s motivation for the criticism asking “why is it you only go at basketball players … you [are] completely mute when it comes to the Tom Bradys [and] the Aaron Rodgers of the world … You get where I’m going … stop it, bruh, it’s out of bounds.”
Smith prefaced his response by saying he has nothing but love for Foxx and that the two are good friends. He said Foxx called him on the phone about what was said. But Stephen A. went on the offensive saying Foxx needed to take a step back for one reason.
“I would caution everybody to understand that Jamie Foxx has no credibility when it comes to sports because he’s a Cowboys fan!” Smith said. “He has no credibility!”
Joking aside, Smith did start to get more serious.
“Jamie Foxx knows better. He’s just highly protective of the Black athlete as he should be,” Smith said. “Because they deserve our protection to be quite honest with you in a lot of situations. That’s what this is about.”
Stephen A. Smith did differentiate things, saying it’s his job as an analyst and pundit to call out foolishness or poor play. Race, he said, doesn’t factor into criticism of what an athlete does in competition.
“If you shoot 2 for 20, and you look like straight garbage, I’m supposed to look at your ethnicity and say, ‘I’m not gonna say anything?’ Nooo! No!” Smith said. “You’re supposed to call it. When you ain’t getting the job done, that’s what you’re supposed to do. Now when it comes to the personal, that’s different.”
When it comes to Ben Simmons, Stephen A. touched on how Simmons effort has always come into question, then when he played in Philadelphia his issues as a Sixer were mental health-related. But then when he got to Brooklyn, the team cited back issues as the reason he wasn’t playing. Add in comments from Simmons’s camp that said it wasn’t a back issue but more mental health issues.
Stephen A. said he’s obligated to call all of that into question.
Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”
Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.
Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.
King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.
“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”
Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.
King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”
Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7
“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.
The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.
“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”
Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.
Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.
Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.
Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”
Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.
WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”
McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.
“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”
WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.