Stephen A. Smith was almost giddy when addressing the initial comments to the media by freshly-minted Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash. “I was pleased with him acknowledging what to me is a very, very obvious thing,” Smith said on his show First Take on Thursday.
What would have otherwise been a completely uncontroversial coaching hire, became the number one sports topic in the United States, when Stephen A. Smith alleged that ‘white privilege’ was the reason Steve Nash was appointed head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there is no way around this,” Smith said last week, as if about to unveil what was obvious to everyone. “This is white privilege. This does not happen for a Black man. No experience whatsoever? On any level as a coach? And you get the Brooklyn Nets job?”
Stephen A. must have done little to no research before “spewing his nonsense”. In response to Stephen A. Smith’s ‘white privilege’ rant, the New York Post reported that “since 1978-79, nine of the 16 people who have become NBA coaches despite not having any prior experience are black. Derek Fisher was hired by the Knicks without any head-coaching experience. So was Jason Kidd, who is bi-racial.”
Stephen A. Smith was also thoroughly debunked and heavily criticised by former NBA players and coaches; most notably by Charles Barkley who said: “When you have a responsibility, especially when you have to talk about something as serious as race, you can’t be full of crap. You’ve got to be honest and fair.”
“Steve Nash is a great player and a good dude.” Barkley added. “But I was so disappointed in some of these guys. I was like, ‘Dude, Black guys have done this before.’ Now, do we need more Black coaches in the NBA? Yes. Do we need more Black coaches in college football? Yes. Do we need more Black coaches in pro football? Yes. But this wasn’t the right time to say that today. Good luck to Steve Nash.”
After being rightly excoriated by Barkley and others for his unproven, race-baiting comments; ‘Sensitive’ Steven A. doubled down. “I mentioned white privilege yesterday, [and] I have a message to those who feel that I was wrong, that I need to apologize, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, etcetera, etcetera. I don’t give a d*mn what y’all feel. Y’all can all kick rocks. I don’t give a d*mn. I’m not budging from my position one inch.”
Unfortunately, he stayed true to his word, stating: “My point about white privilege, tell me the Black man that would happen for? No resume whatsoever as a coach, at all. And you get a job of this magnitude. I’m not talking about Derek Fisher, with the sorry New York Knicks at the time; not talking about Jason Kidd, his first era when they were building the Brooklyn Nets squad; nor am I not talking about Doc Rivers in Orlando. I’m not talking about those opportunities. I’m talking about championship ready, and it would be a shock if you don’t win 50 games and you’re not contending for a crown. Black folks with no resume getting a job like that? I have been covering the NBA for 25 years…. brothers do not get those opportunities.”
Pure dishonesty. Nowhere in his initial comments did Steven A. Smith mention anything about the quality of teams hiring a totally inexperienced head coach. He simply said Steve Nash got the Brooklyn Nets job because of ‘white privilege’. When backed into a corner with facts; he subtly changed his argument.
But even that ‘hot take’ by Smith is wrong; as hardly any totally inexperienced coaches ever get opportunities to be the head coach of a team that is believed to be a championship contender; no matter the race. A prime exception to this rule, ironically, is Bill Russel. He was a superstar “black” player on several Celtics championship teams. After he retired; Russell got to be the head coach of that championship ready Celtics team without any prior experience.
Often people argue Steve Kerr to the Warriors is a prime example of this exception too. A hire remember, Stephen A. also took issue with. But no one saw the Warriors as title contenders when Kerr took over. The Warriors of course became contenders during the 2014-2015 season. But a large part of that was due to Kerr; who coached the same core team Mark Jackson had coached during the previous season.
Now back to the First Take host in question, whose disingenuousness on this topic did not stop with his retort to Charles Barkley et al. Steven A. went on to say on Thursday: “I don’t back up from what I said one bit. I meant every d*mn word that I said, but my comments were not to denigrate nor insult Sean Marks or Steve Nash. It was not about them. It was about a system that is unequal and unfair because the point I was trying to make is that Steve Nash has never coached on any level.”
Wait what? How can Stephen A. honestly conclude that his remarks were not about Steve Nash? To reiterate, Smith said, without being prompted by anyone; (as far as we know); while salivating at the mouth; that Steve Nash got the Brooklyn Nets job because “This is white privilege.”
How does that not denigrate Nash? Or Marks, who hired Nash? Smith alleged that the hiring was an example of white privilege; which is tantamount to calling both Nash and Marks, racists!
But this sort of commentary by Stephen A. Smith is nothing new and is emblematic of just how tone deaf the ESPN firebrand is; especially to the lunacy of his own commentary.
Perhaps this is why Smith obviously misconstrued Nash’s comments, which read: “I have benefited from white privilege. Our society has a lot of ground to make up. I’m not saying that this position is a factor as far as white privilege.“
So no Stephen A., Nash by acknowledging white privilege exists, did not agree with your take, that his case constituted white privilege.
To hammer that “very, very obvious” point home; Nash added: “I’m very sensitive to the cause and the goal. I’m not sure that this is an example that materially fits that conversation.“
Tone deaf Smith must have only heard the first part of that response; presumably so desperate for validation was he. But unlike what Steven A Smith thought, Nash never provided that validation of his extremely dumb, unproven and frankly racist comments.
On Inside the NBA on TNT last night (Thursday); Steve Nash once again addressed Stephen A Smith’s allegation that white privilege had anything to do with his hiring as the Brooklyn Nets’ head coach. “I don’t think this situation is white privilege personally. I think that my career–and there’s precedence here that speaks for itself. There’s been other coaches that have jumped–first of all I think jumping the line or the queue and white privilege are two different issues. But I think the white privilege argument isn’t really contextual to this situation because of the career, the unique position that I was in–leading NBA teams for 18 years. The insight that I gathered from being the head of teams.”
Clearly, whatever you think of Steve Nash and his comments about white privilege; the new Brooklyn Nets head coach does not agree with Stephen A. Smith, that his hire had anything to do with that.