On Tuesday's First Take Stephen A. Smith rewarded those who wake themselves up with loud sports debates by going on an impassioned tirade against Odell Beckham Jr. over recently published (and probably outdated) comments that Beckham made to The Wall Street Journal. Those comments concerned the rapidly approaching NFL season, which Beckham had said he doesn't think should take place (though he's said he's playing), and what he considers to be owners' greed and lack of concern for players.
Just to fill you in, because it's kind of necessary, we'll post his answer.
"Obviously with everything that's going on, it doesn't make sense why we're trying to do this. I can understand basketball was already in the playoffs. Five-on-five basketball in an arena is going to be more intense than regular-season games," he said. "Hooping is different than playing an eleven-on-eleven contact sport where there's 80 people in a locker room. We're not ready for football season. So why are we trying to push forward? It's obviously for their money. And that bothers me because there's always been this—and I hate saying it like that—but the owners' [attitude is], 'Oh we own you guys,' and just kind of that unfairness going on that they don't see us as human. I just feel like the season shouldn't happen and I'm prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn't mind not having it."
This interview was conducted two weeks ago, which means the comments were made prior to a deal between the league and the players union that's intended to increase precautions for COVID. And, again, despite those concerns he had expressed Beckham's not opting out. He reported to camp on July 28.
On Tuesday's First Take, Smith was fired up by what he considered to be Beckham trying to have it both ways (specifically Beckham choosing to play for money while he can opt out) and also bringing up race in a situation where he didn't think it was warranted.
You can watch his comments below, but here's a few choice quotes for those who are in public or don't watch internet videos, as transcribed by Browns Nation.
He started by saying, “I’m a Black man. When [you’re going to] bring up race, make it count please. That’s all I ask. Make it count.”
He continued on that subject by saying, “When you bring up race in this equation, a white guy like [co-host Max Kellerman], a white guy like you [analyst Tim Hasselbeck] or white folks all across the nation they sit up there and go like this, ‘what is this?’ Because this ain’t what we’ve been talking bout here. This is not what the protests have been about.
“The protests have been about racial oppression, racial inequality, things of that nature. That isn’t applicable to you in this sequence, Odell Beckham Jr. or any other NFL player. You have the choice to play and get paid, or don’t play and don’t get paid. It’s a choice.”
And he wrapped the clip by saying, “What you’re not going to do is be in my face saying you accept the circumstances, but you moaning about it too. You don’t get to do both. And that’s what Odell Beckham Jr. is doing here.
“With all due respect, OBJ play, or don’t play. It’s very simple.”
Obviously you can watch below:
Now we get to the Jarvis Landry part. If you dive into the comments you can see Landry's defense of his college/pro teammate by saying that Beckham never brought up race, and also by pointing out that the interview is no longer relevant since circumstances have changed since Beckham made his comments.
"No[t] one time...NOT ONE TIME did @obj say anything about color!!!" Landry wrote. "The statement made was made before protocols were put in place to make sure the safety of the players, coaches and essential staff were protected. At that point yes it was confusing and what @obj said was correct.
"@stephenasmith you know how this works[,] story get done and ran 3-5 weeks later and you fall all over it and try to make a sense about the topic. "As a black man" if you gon say that call @obj and tell him that."