“First Take” host Stephen A. Smith on Monday weighed in on the way Fox News host Laura Ingraham told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” and he points to white privilege as an issue.
Ingraham made the remarks after James spoke out against President Donald Trump last week on “Rolling with the Champion.” While the Fox News host explained in a statement there was no “racial intent” behind her remarks, Smith says she should be cautious about how her words can be perceived.
“People from different ethnic backgrounds may take it differently,” Smith tells conservative ESPN host Will Cain Feb. 19. “And she has an obligation to be sensitive to that because if they hear it differently than you or I heard it, she holds some culpability in that regard.”
Smith further noted that Black people are expected to represent for the entire community while white people don’t have to do the same. In defense of James, Smith said, “people are looking at Black folks [on TV to speak out] because [of] the paucity of African-Americans in position to have a voice.”
“As a Black person, if you don’t sit up there and at least echo — not saying you’re obligated to agree — but if you don’t at least echo that sentiment then the belief is you don’t relate to history and what history has taught us,” he later adds.
When Cain later explained that Smith is an individual and doesn’t, in fact, speak for the entire Black community, Smith emphasized there’s a difference between the “level of comfort” that white people have in America compared to that of Black Americans.
“It’s the reason why LeBron James, who’s worth close to a billion dollars, that has a house in Brentwood, gets the N-word spray-painted on his gate on his house in Brentwood and he doesn’t hesitate to bring it up,” Smith says. “There’s a reason for that. It’s constantly reminding us that no matter how far we climb, there’s always something or someone or a plethora of people or [a] particular group in the populous who believes or who’s quick to remind us we are what we just are.”