Nearly a year after he was first accused of dropping the N-word on television (a charge which he vigorously denied), ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith once again said something on TV that sounds an awful lot like a racial slur.
At 0:09 in the video below, which is taken from today’s 11 a.m. broadcast of First Take, an astute viewer noticed that it sounds like Smith says “n*gga please?” Did he actually slip up and drop the N-bomb on TV? You be the judge:
Like he did after the first time he was accused of N-word dropping, Smith is acting like he’s offended anyone would think he would say such a thing. He issued the following statement, denying everything:
“Sorry to distract from the attention of the show, but obviously there have been numerous reports out there I’ve uttered a word I should not have uttered. I’m going to repeat this one more time: I did not do so.”
He added: “I speak very, very fastly and sometimes my words are misconstrued. I get that. If I were to say such a word, because I work for this network, because this network would never condone such a thing, I would instantly issue an apology. Obviously, it would be a huge mistake on my part if I did utter such a word. But I did not. I was speaking fast, and I can understand how it can be misconstrued for those that were listening to me. But I did not utter that word.”
Smith went on to say that he plans to slow down and articulate his words more carefully in the future.
Curiously, Smith didn’t offer any explanation for what he thinks he actually said. Frankly, it’s hard to hear anything other than “n*gga please” upon repeated viewings of the video. His denial doesn’t hold much water.
At this time, ESPN has not issued an official statement about the incident. We’ll monitor the situation closely for the next few days. It’s possible the the higher-ups at the Worldwide Leader won’t buy Smith’s explanation of what happened and will issue some kind of punishment.
What do you think? Did Smith say the N-word on TV? If so, what should the ramifications be?