On the Nov. 28 broadcast of ESPN’s “First Take,” sports journalist Stephen A. Smith continued to distance himself from San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick in wake of his Fidel Castro statements.
The journalist’s criticism stems from a news conference last week where Kaepernick butted heads with a Miami Herald reporter for wearing a T-shirt depicting the 1960 meeting between Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Black liberator Malcolm X.
In that heated exchange, the quarterback of the 1-10 49ers praised Castro’s literacy program and the nation’s efforts to keep people out of prison.
But his praise was met with heavy scrutiny because the QB seemingly dismissed the feelings of Cuban exiles victimized by Castro’s regime. But Sunday, after falling to the Miami Dolphins, Kaepernick clarified his statements.
“It was completely out of context,” he said, according to Pro Football Talk. “Once again, what I said was I support the investment in education. I’ve never said that I support the oppressive things that he did. What I said was that I agree with the investment in education. I also agree with the investment in free universal health care, as well as the involvement in him helping end apartheid in South Africa.”
On today’s episode, Smith said that Kaepernick has been insensitive to the plight of Cuban exiles and deserved the criticism that came his way. Additionally, Smith reminded the audience that the QB did not register to vote in this year’s election.
“I told you to shave that damn Afro. Stop acting like you a militant. YOU IGNORANT!” Smith says. “The bottom line, I’m not questioning his intelligence. … He picks and chooses what he wants to disseminate. … I’m accusing him of knowing better. … [Kaepernick] only cares about what he cares about as opposed to what is real.”
Then, Smith insinuated that he does not care about the feelings of Cuban exiles for making statements praising Castro.
“You’ve got the Cuban folks, in the United States and beyond, speaking about how vile Castro was. … To ignore all of that is a crime against those people,” Smith says.