Although this isn’t the first time that ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith courted controversy—he was previously suspended for remarks on Ray Rice beating his wife, where he suggested that some women invite abuse—he received quick backlash when he dared to insert himself into the conversation around “Black Lives Matter.”
Smith spoke passionately Tuesday on his Sirius XM radio show about the criticism leveled towards former Maryland governor and current Democratic presidential contender Martin O’Malley, who responded to Black Lives Matter leaders interrupting his and Bernie Sanders’s Saturday’s Netroots Nation statements by saying that “all lives matter.” Smith both defended O’Malley and admonished activists for what he saw as disproportionate focus on police killings of black civilians:
“Where’s the noise about all black lives matter when black folks are killing black folks? You see, that’s where you lose me… So we mandate that folks say black lives matter. But we got black folks dying at the hands of black folks.”
“There’s nothing wrong with highlighting that all lives matter…That’s not a reason for somebody to be booed.”
He affirmed his statements with Twitter posts as well:
There’s nothing wrong when a presidential candidate says “All lives Matter”!
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) July 21, 2015
Social media users came at Smith for his tone-deaf statements on the matter, both lampooning Smith and explaining the necessity for Black Lives Matter:
Stephen A Smith shows up to cancer wards and yells “BUT WHAT ABOUT AIDS?!?! AIDS IS A THING TO!”
— Teej Lawson (@HumbleTeej) July 21, 2015
if ALL lives mattered, folks doing black liberation work/affirming that ALL BLACK lives matter, wouldn’t be an issue https://t.co/whgLRDBPQf
— ShordeeDooWhop (@Nettaaaaaaaa) July 21, 2015
— Sam (@samwhiteout) July 21, 2015
You can listen to Smith’s full six-minute rant here.
(H/t Raw Story)