Stephen A. Smith’s Ben Simmons take is ‘completely unfair’

Stephen A. Smith’s takedowns of Ben Simmons have not sat well with Jamie Foxx.

In a since-deleted video, Foxx called Smith’s commentary on the Nets guard “completely unfair.” On Tuesday’s edition of “First Take,” Smith disagreed with Foxx’s disagreement.

Smith has been constantly harping on Simmons, who did not play this season, first citing mental health troubles and, more recently, back problems. On Monday, Smith said Simmons “might also be the weakest, most pathetic excuse for a professional athlete we’ve ever seen in not just American history but the history of sport.”

“That is completely unfair,” Foxx said of Smith’s commentary. “Ben Simmons has a family. This man has people that love him and this man just plays basketball but to be dragged through the mud like this is unfair…

“And why is it you only go at basketball players… you [are] completely mute when it comes to the Tom Bradys [and] the Aaron Rodgers of the world … You get where I’m going … stop it, bruh, it’s out of bounds.”

Jamie Foxx and Stephen A. Smith have vigorous disagreement about Ben Simmons.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

On “First Take,” Smith explained he and Foxx are close friends and called him “maybe the greatest talent in the history of Hollywood, with his talent and range,” before proceeding to dismantle the argument.

Smith said that they talk about sports regularly, and that Foxx has “no credibility when it comes to sports” — because he’s a Cowboys fan.

“Jamie Foxx knows better,” Smith said. “He’s just highly protective of the black athlete, as he should be, because they deserve our protection in a lot of situations. Jamie Foxx knows good and damn well it ain’t got nothing to do with brotherhood for me. I protect brothers all the damn time, trust you me, it’s what I DON’T say that provides my protection.”

Steven A. Smith has not held back his feelings about Nets star Ben Simmons.
Steven A. Smith has not held back his feelings about Nets star Ben Simmons.
ESPN/Screengrab

Smith disputed that he doesn’t go after white figures in sports, citing Steve Nash and Tim Tebow as part of “countless examples” of white athletes he’s called out.

He didn’t like the idea that he’s not supposed to call out black athletes.

“I’m only supposed to be free?” I have asked. “I’m calling out Kyrie [Irving] and a Ben Simmons because of their impact and effect on the black athlete. When you go to the collective bargaining table, and [the owners] use them as an example to try to minimize their contribution to players, that’s about those players. That’s about the black athlete.

“If I sit there and take a position on Colin Kaepernick, because I’m talking about how you didn’t strategize appropriately, I’m saying that I wish you had. I wish that you had embraced the support that everyone threw out there on your behalf when you were being blackballed, unfairly, by the NFL.”

Smith continued to emphasize that players’ performance on the court matters, and that hammering Irving and Simmons for their lack of performance is fair game.

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