Stephen A. Smith, the well-known ESPN talk show veteran said Monday on his radio show that his listeners and his producers were lucky that he wasn't going political because ESPN is not a political network. Then he stealthily approached the subject of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh being accused of sexual harassment. It appears that Smith (see file photo) is seriously questioning the Supreme Court nominee's accuser, but Awful Announcing writer Phillip Bupp assumes Smith is speaking against Kavanaugh and this story demands Smith not stick to sports.
Here's the transcript of Smith's remarks:
“Ladies and gentleman, you all have no idea how lucky you are, how lucky this nation is that I’m working for ESPN, which is a sports network and I’m not working for a political network. Because this stuff about the Supreme Court nominee and all of the sudden you’ve found somebody from high school, okay, that said he did something wrong. The things that I would say, oooooh. But, I’m going to relieve my producers.
“I’m not going to say anything. I’m not going to say anything. But, my God, are you all lucky I’m not a political pundit. Ohh. Ohh, would I be going off about it. High school. Supreme Court justice nominee and they talk about something that might, might, might have happened in high school. Lord have mercy on this country.”
That sounds like Smith is skeptical of #MeToo candidate Christine Blasey Ford. Smith stresses the "high school" timing of the accusation. He uses the word "might" three times in a row. He refers to something that may have happened in high school. He also uses the phrase "all of a sudden you've found somebody from high school." Sounds like a man who knows a Borking when he sees one.
It reads like Smith is questioning Ford's credibility. But Bupp focuses on the accused. Read his take:
"Smith made it a point that he really wanted people to know he has takes about someone who has been accused of sexual assault being appointed to the highest court in the land."
Later in the article, Bupp writes:
"As for Smith’s comments, they can be taken in either way. You can hear what he said and think that he’s outraged that Kavanaugh is still in line to be a Supreme Court justice despite a sexual assault accusation and you can hear what he said and think that he’s outraged that a sexual assault accusation from high school is coming back at Kavanaugh like this."
Bupp alleges Smith is saying it's either a matter of guilt and it's grounds for disqualifying Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court nominee, or Smith is angry that something that actually happened long ago just now came to light. Bupp's analysis appears to be over-stating what Smith actually said.
Bupp tips his hand on Kavanaugh by criticizing the Arizona Cardinals for endorsing the nominee this summer. He writes that Smith could have gone political and pointed out that the Cardinals' acted hypocritically:
"Considering the juxtaposition of NFL teams trying to keep politics out of the game due to the national anthem, it’s an appropriate topic to discuss whether it was right for the Cardinals to post that."
Bupp writes "if there was ever a reason to combine sports and politics in everything, it might be for this." Meaning the Republican president's Supreme Court nomination.
Does Bupp sound like a sports writer who wants Smith to go political? Does he sound neutral toward Kavanaugh? He infers that the accusation against Kavanaugh warrants sports media scrutiny. When he writes "it might be for this" he's referring directly to Ford accusing a Supreme Court nominee of wrongdoing. He's certainly not sticking to sports, and he comes off as partisan.