Stephen A. Smith’s tirade against Colin Kaepernick continues nearly two years after the free agent quarterback knelt during the national anthem.
Smith, who is vocal about his issue with Kaepernick protesting Black oppression in such a fashion, said he doesn’t want the former San Francisco 49er quarterback to be compared to Jackie Robinson after Kaepernick tweeted a quote from the legendary MLB player.
“I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a Black man in a white world,” Robinson wrote in his 1972 autobiography, “I Never Had It Made.”
When Kaepernick posted the quote to mark the 71 anniversary of Robinson breaking the major league color barrier on Sunday, April 15 several people — apparently including Smith — took it to mean the footballer was likening himself to the late icon.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) April 16, 2018
“If the intent was just to highlight and illuminate the rationale and the reason behind his protest I have absolutely no problem whatsoever … But I will say this,” Smith says on “First Take” Monday, April 16. “We gon to put a stop to all of this stuff for those out there that try to martyr [Kaepernick] to the point where you think for one second that he needs to be mentioned in the same sentence as Jackie Robinson. You better pump them damn brakes. I’m not gon tolerate that, I’m telling you right now. Some folks gon get cussed out on national television if I hear somebody saying something like that. He is not comparable to the great Jackie Robinson.”
Smith went on to outline the differences in the times that Robinson grew up in compared to Kaepernick’s circumstances. The ESPN host explained Robinson faced blatant racism and segregation while Kaep had more opportunities.
“You know one thing that folks haven’t realized that Colin Kaepernick is actually comparable to? … He’s actually comparable to President Donald Trump,” Smith adds. “Donald Trump was the former owner for the USFL who tried to sue the NFL for $1.7 billion. He won the case but one a grand total of $1. It ruined the USFL, certainly ruined his chances of ultimately getting what he really wanted, which was to own an NFL team.”
In response to Smith’s Kaep comments, commenters tore into him.
“Bruh, Stephen A. Smith is indicative what Black people do to ourselves all the time. Kap is paying homage and Stephen A. wants to enter him into an oppression Olympics. Just respect it and move on. That crab in the barrel mentality is cancerous.”
“Moments like this remind me that Stephen A. Smith has no real credibility when it comes to discussing significant issues within the Black community,” someone else said. “He was the same one saying JR Smith shouldn’t wear a hood on the bench because it would remind people of Trayvon Martin, as though that was a negative thing. People should be reminded of Trayvon because that innocent young man was murdered and there were no consequences. Stephen does not see this because he is no longer connected to the Black community in any significant way.”
“Only difference between Robinson and Kaepernick is that people of all colors were willing to stand with him for what he believed in,” another said. “While Kaepernick is facing the very people he is standing up for and the rest of the world for his. Simple.”