Could race have been a factor in the celebration of newly retired Dallas Cowboy Tony Romo becoming a Dallas Maverick for the day? Stephen A. Smith definitely thinks so, but Will Cain vehemently disagrees.
Ex-quarterback Romo, who retired Tuesday, April 11, participated in pregame activities wearing his own No. 9 Mavericks jersey before watching the team take on the Denver Nuggets.
“I ask a simple question: Do you know of any Black athlete that won just two playoff games, didn’t have any kind of postseason success whatsoever, that gets celebrated like this?” Smith says on ESPN’s “First Take” Wednesday, April 12. “Do you know who that person is? Because I don’t know him. I’ve never seen it.”
“I’m enlightening you about the fact that these are the kinds of things away from the white community that, when folks in the Black community huddle amongst ourselves and talk about things,” Smith says after Max Kellerman chimed in. “And talk about discrepancies, it’s the kind of stuff that irks us. Because we know that those are the kinds of things that are not reserved for us. Sports is supposed to be the closest thing to a meritocracy. Where is it here?”
Cain blasted Smith’s argument as “so much nonsense, and so much junk.”
“To make this racial is so far beyond the pale that it makes real racial issues hard to pay attention to. It detracts!” Smith exclaimed.
He explained Romo’s celebration was based on his relationship with Dallas and used late San Diego Padres right fielder Tony Gwynn as an example of a Black athlete who had a similar relationship with the California city.
“I need you to hurry up so I can respond!” Smith interrupts.
“Well, I’m giving you the real reason this happened,” Cain shoots back. “You’re talking about race, I’m giving you the real reason!”
“You don’t get to just chirp chirp chirp and talk about what we’re supposed to feel, and I don’t get a chance to respond!” Smith says. “What the hell do you think this is? Let me be very, very clear: You’re not Black! Don’t think for one second you get to tell me how to feel!”