On the Sept. 1 edition of ESPN’s “First Take,” sports journalist Stephen A. Smith criticizes Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton for his interview about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s protest of the national anthem.
In an interview with ESPN’s Trey Wingo, Newton says that he does not support or disagree with Kaepernick’s protest. His no-response comes two weeks after claiming that racism is no longer an issue in the country.
On today’s show, Smith starts off the segment giving Newton a rundown of the injustices Black people have had to face.
The commentator mentions the poll taxes, IQ tests and voting laws that prevented Black men from voting after being granted the right.
“He knows what racism is,” Smith declares. ” … You gon’ dance around it like you have nothing to say.”
Smith adds that many athletes expect journalists like himself to speak out against racism.
However, those athletes would not do it themselves.
“Here’s what it comes down to for me,” he says. “What I saw was a superstar athlete who is the reigning league MVP who stars in the NFL right now for the Carolina Panthers, thinking about his brand. And is that new to us? We’ve got guys that are millionaires, 10, 20, 50, 100 times over, scared to take a position.”
Near the end of the clip, Smith states that Michael Jordan has been criticized for not saying anything.
But Jordan has hired Black people and donated large sums of his earnings to Black communities.
Smith believes Newton should not get a pass.
“… What [are] you scared of?”