ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith
Controversial ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith caused a stir on Thursday when he railed against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for firing head coach Lovie Smith.
Apparently because Lovie Smith is an African-American head coach and race is the only topic Stephen A. Smith chose to discuss on ESPN’s First Take program.
Ex-Bucs head coach Lovie Smith – Getty Images
ESPN’s Smith has made a career out of being an outspoken commentator on racial issues on the Worldwide Leader of Sports, but made himself look like a complete moron in railing against the Bucs for firing Smith – despite the fact he went 8-24, including a 3-13 mark at home in two years in Tampa Bay.
Smith’s firing was justified because the Glazers refuse to settle for mediocrity. At no point in time during his two years in Tampa Bay did Smith ever post a winning record, becoming the only head coach other than Leeman Bennett to do so in Bucs history.
But ESPN’s Smith was too ignorant to discuss facts like that.
“I’m sad for Lovie Smith,” Smith said. “I do not believe he deserved this. I think it’s a travesty that this happened to him, which is hard to say for a guy with an 8-24 record in his two years as a head coach. But the first year was a wash. We all know that. This year was Jameis Winston’s rookie year. They went 6-10 and had a lot of good moments before they tailed off at the end of the season.
“We’re hearing because of the possibility that they want their offensive coordinator to be their head coach and they didn’t want to lose him because he’s their golden boy – Dirk Koetter. So as a result, that’s why this happened to Lovie Smith. But the fact that it happened over the phone just adds insult to the insulting decision by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”
Lovie Smith and Dirk Koetter – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
Stephen A. Smith is apparently upset that the Bucs might be on the verge of replacing Lovie Smith with Koetter, who is white. That’s embarrassing, and the only logical conclusion one can draw from his take.
He then jumps to the conclusion that Lovie Smith was cold-heartedly fired on the phone before getting all the facts. Bucs general manager Jason Licht and co-chairman Joel Glazer tried to persuade Smith to come to One Buc Place for a face-to-face meeting, but once Smith realized he was going to be fired he politely declined and opted to be let go on the phone instead.
ESPN’s petulant Smith then continued with his foolish rant.
“Either you have to have a brother giving a brother the opportunity to run his own show, or you have to be an elite Hall of Fame coach secure in your stature in order to hire an African-American to lead,” Smith said. “Outside of that, every other African-American coordinator basically has a head coach on the same side of the ball. So you are essentially leading the way – even though that’s the job of a head coach to be fair – the reality is that it is giving the impression and the interpretation that black men can’t lead. As a result, we know why it’s hard for black folks to get a head-coaching job. It’s unbelievable to me that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who should be ashamed of themselves for doing this … it’s amazing to me what is transpiring.”
Does Smith realize that the Buccaneers have hired the most African-American head coaches of all 32 NFL teams? The Glazer family’s first head coaching hire was Tony Dungy, who turned the franchise around starting in 1996 and became a future Hall of Famer. Raheem Morris served as the Bucs’ head coach from 2009-11, followed by Smith from 2014-15.
Ex-Bucs head coach Raheem Morris – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Of the five head coaches the Glazers have hired since taking over the franchise in 1995, the majority of them have been African-American. Does Smith realize this?
No other NFL team can make that claim.
As it turns out, Smith’s anger at the Buccaneers is petty and misguided.
Thoughtfully talking about the lack of African-American head coaches is a worthwhile discussion, but how about the NFL franchises that have never hired an African-American head coach? Where is Smith’s anger towards the Cowboys, Giants, Rams, Seahawks, Panthers, Saints, Chargers, Texans, Titans, Ravens and Patriots?
How about the franchises that have only had African-American interim head coaches, including the Redskins (Terry Robiskie, 2000), Falcons (Emmitt Thomas, 2007), Bills (Perry Fewell, 2009), Broncos (Eric Studesville, 2010), Dolphins (Todd Bowles, 2011) and Jaguars (Mel Tucker, 2011), but none that were hired for a full season?
That’s 17 NFL franchises – more than half the league – that have yet to hire an African-American as a head coach. The Bucs lead the way with three.
The Raiders (Art Shell and Hue Jackson), Chiefs (Herman Edwards and Romeo Crennel), Colts (Dungy and Caldwell), Jets (Edwards and Bowles) and Vikings (Dennis Green and Leslie Frazier) are the only other teams that have employed multiple, full-time African-American head coaches.
The angry ESPN commentator is obviously upset to see Smith go in Tampa Bay, and is likely perturbed to see Detroit’s Jim Caldwell, another African-American head coach, may soon be out of a job, too. Never mind that neither coach has won enough games, and that the NFL is a cold-hearted business that is almost always about wins and losses – not race – when it comes to firing its head coaches.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith
If Caldwell is also dismissed, that would leave just Bowles in New York, Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh and Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati as the only three current African-American head coaches in the NFL – although Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is a hot commodity and has a good shot of landing a job this month.
“What we’re seeing is we’re taking steps back – not steps forward,” Smith said. “I’m sorry if folks believe that is race-baiting. It just happens to be factual. But if that’s where you want to take it, I don’t give a damn.”
Smith is definitely race-baiting, and that is the real travesty because he’s barking up the wrong tree. The Glazer family and the Buccaneers organization has been the most proactive team in the league when it comes to minority hiring.
Did Smith conveniently leave that out of his rant, or is he just a jackass that is ignorant to the facts?
I’m definitely guessing the latter, and he’s the one that should be ashamed.
Scott Reynolds is in his 22nd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
seems like Smith showed everyone who the racist is…Hopefully his lack of integrity will have him joining Lovie in the unemployment line…His current bosses should make him on air apologize for HIS racism and lack of fact checking…
A slightly different view !!! Looking back with the Qb he had , Schiano was a much superior coach than Lovie. He also didn’t employ two family members and numerous personnel friends on his bad defenses.Schiano was fired because he was a Jack Ass at times and Lovie was fired because he isn’t a good Head Coach or Defensive Coordinator. Lovie was also afforded to be Highly Highly Nepotistic and most corporations do not allow this for obvious reasons!!! But Lovie practiced Nepotism to the highest degree and the stats don’t lie . These were Lovies choices !!! Stats don’t Lie!!! The stubborn Lovie fired himself , simple as that !!!
SAS embarrasses himself every time he opens his mouth. The four letter network is gutless to fire him. Another reason I despise that network and don’t watch it.
i thought this kind of racial behavior was over and it’s not about the color of one’s skin. Kind of depressing to hear igorance come from an ESPM Commentator. I hope he apologizes to the Glazer’s.
Oops! Sorry ‘ignorance”. i wish we had spell check.
You guys are correct. This guy is an avowed racist and people other then Skip Bayless let him ramble on. What hacks me off is that if Stephen Smith was white and made those remarks about an African American he would be fired immediately because of the liberal media. A person’s race should never enter into the discussion and I am surprised it still does in this day and age. This saddens me.
Affirmative Action doesn’t exist in the NFL.
You either cut it or you don’t. Simple as that.
As I said, I was ambivalent about the firing even though I spoke in Lovie’s defense numerous times as many as you know.
But as I listened to all the “talking heads” out there today question the move, I had to say, “Oh yea, well you aren’t plucking down close to a grand a year to watch our defense get shredded week after week.”
It’s easy to support below average play when it isn’t costing you any money.
No doubt Lovie is a well respected coach to his players, but if they respected him so much, they should have played for him a little harder.
I think the Glazers would have settled for mediocrity this year, but unfortunately they didn’t get it. 8-8 is mediocre, anything less is poor or bad.
Lovie was essentially fired because he wouldn’t let go of some of his assistants and his defense, which he was personally responsible for, was regressing, not improving.
Also, to be honest with you, I didn’t see the Bucs improving to even 8-8 next year under the leadership of Lovie.
ESPN will never fire Steve Smith for this because it stirs up the ratings. But I haven’t watched ESPN in years except for Monday Night Football.
I would suggest others do the same.
drdneast; very good points.
Well said, sir. I’ve disagreed with you on several of your points today, but your passion is clear and admirable.
He is a complete jackass. I don’t think anyone takes him serious. Anyone with a brain anyways. The Glazers have probably had more African American coaches in last 20 years than any other team.
What a pompous jackass. He’s an embarrassment to the sagging ESPN even though they seem to like his ignorant babbling. Good for you for calling him out as a misinformed racist!
76Buc I agree with you although I don’t think you got the verbiage right.
For some reason blacks on TV are allowed to talk about race with impunity.
If many of you haven’t guessed from my posts, I am what many would call a liberal democrat. I am also white.
Everytime the players threaten to strike I am on their side because I know how much money the NFL owners rake in and what a pack of greed heads they are.
But one thing I can’t stand is the Victimization going on today.
This country wasn’t built on being a “victim” it was built by people who refused to be victims.
All races have suffered discrimination when they first arrived here and yes blacks certainly were discriminated against for the longest time.
But its time to stop blaming your race on how you are being treated. Its getting boring and irksome.
I will get off my soapbox now.
drdneast; no need to apologize as I to am a Liberal Democrat; born at Tampa General Hospital 1946 and raised in Clearwater. There was much religious and race hatered with the local KKK Chapter being in Palm Harbor. I did a lot of marching and supporting the equal rights for all in the 1960’s. I too thought we were finally past racial hatred, but I guess there will always be a few no matter what the color of your skin or religious preference might be might be.
thank you sir! i appreciate your sacrifice!! let the republicans tell it all the democrats were racists during that time and they led the charge for equality…
No, it was both Republican and Democrats; there were no borders. The Democrats woke up first because that equality needs to be enforced, not just talked about.
drdneast hit the nails on the head. Good job!!!!
I will be pretty disappointed if ESPN doesn’t take some significant action against one of their employees making such overtly racist hateful comments.
SR I don’t agree with Stephen A. Smith in this particular instance for the reasons posted above. However in general in have great deal of respect for Stephen A. Smith and what he’s been able to accomplish as member of the media, particularly when he’s talking about the NBA. He’s free to talk about issues as he sees them just like you are so I’m surprised to see you react to radically to his comments. Of all the stupid things that get said in the media every day, why react to this? To me it doesn’t make you come off in any better light than him. I wouldn’t have even known about it had you not brought it up, now it’s getting more attention than it deserves.
pinstob; you are out of line and misinformed. The subject is the Bucs and the Owners being suggested of something they aren’t; the original owner of the Bucs would be a different story. I was born and raised here as one of a few Southern Jews in the Clearwater area; I saw plenty of hatred. The Tampa Bay area is a much different place than how it was 70 years ago. I don’t think you experienced the kind of hatred that was common in this area until the 1960’s demanded change. There was plenty of hatred of Blacks and Jews to go around. We are past that kind of hate because many white and black people stood up and made a difference. SAS was wrong and should apologize; it’s as simple as that.
lol he said people would claim he was “race-baiting” whatever that means but “you people” agree with him & say how smart he is when he says “the truth”/negative crap about blacks…. he was not calling anyone racist but was pointing out how quick black coaches are fired & usually not given another HC opportunity whereas guys like jeff fisher & jason garrett can lose & always get second chance after second chance to be head coaches in the NFL (aka the good ol boy network)
Thank you man, this is ridiculous he wasn’t race baiting at all he was just pointing out how black coaches have a short leash and for the most part do not get second chances, he wasn’t acting as if it doesn’t happen to white coaches but because there are only 4 or 5 it is just exacerbated. Its also especially bad because the Rooney rule gets circumvented all the time it is just used as a farce the majority of the time that was another point he was making, But PR is so quick to come out with this dumb article seems like someone just sent you guys this sound bite, did you guys happen to watch the episode?
all i know when this crap blows up in the glazers & the fire lovie crowd faces and the losing continues i don’t want to here he needs more time and excuses… be just as demanding as you were against lovie…who quite honestly i was losing faith in him as well but tearing down & rebuilding every two years is not the way to build a franchise…
I’m not faulting the glazers decision just not high on dirk koetter
Sadly grafikdetail, what you said about democrats was true but lets be specific, they were mainly southern democrats.
When President Johnson signed the civil rights bill in he 60s he told his advisors the democrats would lose the south for the next three generations. He was right.
Also, the large majority of those southern democrats became Republicans later on in life.
As we have seen in many movements, people don’t just want equal rights, they want to be treated more than equal. They want special rights afforded to them.
Also grafikdetail, Lovie was given a second chance since this was his second coaching job. So was Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell.
Still, I don’t see anyone climbing all over themselves trying to hire the white Irishman Chip Kelly. See how silly it can get.
all good points!!! can’t argue with any of them… especially the chip kelly reference LOL also republican talking heads like to deny that many southern democrats (dixiecrats) from the civil rights era switched parties but if you look at the electorate map thru time you can see the drift… thanks for the great insight!
My first experience with Stephen A. was when he was soooo adamant that the Eagles were going to crush the hapless Bucs in the NFC Championship game in 2002… He went on and on… I never saw him the next week with his mouth full of crow, but he pissed me off that day. There is nothing like the smell of the Bucs burning down the Vet.
Stephen A. has accomplished what he set out to do as evidenced by this PR review. He wasn’t even worth writing a story on here, but people would comment as they pleased on the boards. AND I might add that although he didn’t take a racial stance, Steve Marrucci slammed and I mean slammed, this organization also tonight on Total Access. Is PR going to cover Mooch’s statements? No, of course not and why not I might ask?
Lovie was uninspiring to all except Steven A Smith apparently. Don’t believe me? Just look at the ho-hum effort the defense gave to finish the year. Then they went to Twitter as fast as they could to react to the news in shock. Deplorable. Compare it to Chuck Pagano’s statement that when he met with the Colts owner he was gonna “fight like hell” to keep his job. Not Lovie. Nope. He would rather they just fire him over the phone if thats what they want to do.
i’m not really happy about the firing but i said the exact same thing about at least meeting and fighting for his job that he said he loves so much… hell at least meet just to give the glazers a good cursing out… i mean piece of his mind LOL
If SAS is ever accurate about anything, it’s by accident. Lovie deserved to lose his job because he wasn’t doing well at all, nothing else. Fine human being but results on the field cost him his job.
1. As a white male, it always amuses me how quick other white males get offended when someone a black man brings up race. They play the race card, while accusing others of playing the race card.
2. I saw his “rant” and it wasn’t offensive in any way, and he did bring up the dearth of Black coaches in the league, I think his point about the Bucs owners was that an organization that has fired 3 coaches in the last 5 years is a joke of a franchise, which we are.
3. And the “golden boy” that it appears we are about to hire led the 20th ranked offense in points scored.
Personally, I just hope whoever we hire is given at least 4 years. We have to trust a coach at some point.
I really hate it when some of you posters want to use this forum to attempt to get others into a political debate. Let’s talk football. It is a sad state of affairs when some public personalities, who are clearly racists themselves,seek to call others out.
Right on, I could care less that you’re a liberal Democrat or something else. Not sure he’s a racist but I do believe it’s an agenda. It’s a means of self advertising yourself, Which in turn creates more popularity which in return creates more income. Sadly, common theme today.
No one from ESPN knows anything about the Bucs. Doubt if S.A. watched one game start to finish. He sure wasn’t in the stands when M.M. had his only career day against us. His coach, who is white was fired 6 weeks later. Lovie coulda been let go after the first game, yet the Glazers gave him the season, then still thought it out passed black monday. The Bucs should hire you Scott to respond.
As misguided on this topic as SAS is I think Herm Edwards did a very nice job of setting the record straight when he appeared. He stated that the real issue is that the Glazers listen too much to outside opinion and that is the reason for these knee jerk coaching firings. Any legit Buc fan would know that race is hardly what played a factor in Lovie losing his job. SAS is entitled to his stance even if its a reach at best in this situation but hopefully he researches the topic a little more and realizes the error of his statements.
Scubog, I believe this was truly a football decision and probably a good one after a time of reflection.
It was ESPN and Smith who politicized the firing in an attempt to bolster their sagging ratings.
I would have been okay with the Bucs keeping Smith who I believe is a decent and honorable man who is well respected by players in the NFL.
These are some of the attributes I associated with Smith when arguing with dunderheads who complained FA’s wouldn’t play for Smith or the Bucs.
But when it was revealed that Smith had no plans to make any changes to his defensive staff except to bring in an outside consultant he knew from the Bears, then I knew it was time for him to go.
Coaches speak all the time for doing something for the betterment of the team. But if the coach is unwilling to fire friends and family for the betterment of the team, then his arguments begin to ring hollow if he is unable to make those sacrifices himself.
Stephen A Smith is ESPN’s Al Sharpton.
Both “First Take” & “His & Hers” promote race baiting to boost viewer ship. It’s disgraceful “sports journalism”
Surprised letting our black DC go wasn’t mentioned during the tirade. That said, ESPN doesn’t operate in the dark. Editorial material is reviewed and content is approved … or not. Allowing this message to go out on their programming is tactical and intended to bring viewers to their shows. Sadly, that old Hollywood saying, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” hasn’t grown old enough.
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