Did Stephen A. Smith drop an N-bomb on ESPN First Take?

During a discussion about Kobe Bryant’s foot injury on ESPN First Take Thursday morning, Stephen A. Smith said something that has the internet buzzing. It wasn’t completely audible so we cannot say for sure, but it certainly sounded like Stephen A. said “n**ga please” in the middle of one of his rants.

The video was called to our attention by The Big Lead, and they are unsure of what they heard as well. We’ve seen him flip the bird during discussions on TV before, so you can’t completely rule out that Stephen A. had a slip of the tongue. It’s also not the first time he has been accused of using the “N” word on TV.

As expected, Smith tried to explain the incident later on Thursday during another television appearance. Rather than apologizing or giving an explanation of what he actually did say, Stephen A. simply said he speaks too quickly and that results in people like us hearing things.

ESPN has apparently accepted the explanation and will not discipline Smith in any way. That would seem to indicate that they believe he did not drop an N-bomb, but The Big Lead pointed out that they scrubbed the word out when First Take was aired again later in the day. Can anyone explain that?

For whatever reason, Smith is allowed to get away with doing and say inappropriate stuff while other ESPN employees are fired for writing things like this about Jeremy Lin.

Video via @c gar

Audio below:

Around The Web

  • Damian Howard

    this nigga be saying it all the time then denises it. i completely understand though cause he was trying to protect that job

  • Kevin_Indianapolis

    What did he say if it wasn’t the “N” word?  Of course he said it.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/I4I3Q4W2CADT5HASWJL5D5PMPM ronald

    it sound like he said it to me, you can easierly make that out

  • TV63

    I like this guy on ESPN First Take. He’s a decent guy for real and I’m sure it was a mistake.  This show would not be as a success without him. It is the number 1 entertaining sport show in the mormning.  The dynamics between him and Skip is awsome!!

  • yodwag

    Forhead knows that he said the word,not wigge@,but nigg@ please..admit yr wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/VaryBerryWhite Anderson Kirby Words

    Rehire the torg!

  • mudpuppysc

    He is black…He can say that if he wants…Only white people can’t say that.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A54J7RSP73DAWQA4UZ5HIKNY4U Johnny K

     Are you kidding me?

  • crmeje1

    FIRE HIM If he wre white he would have been gone::::

  • Kevin_Indianapolis

    The fact that he denies saying it makes it even more hilarious.  Trying to save his job.  That’s all it is.  

  • mudpuppysc

    Great English on your part.   Let me guess…you graduated for Harvard Ghetto College?

  • http://www.facebook.com/haaseline Douglas Haase

    us whitees…will say whatever we want to say… USE people don’t keep getting passes for your ignorance… N ….PLEASE STOP THE RACIST STUFF!!!

  • George

    Stephen, your Mom is here for you. Some of watch sports. TV63 thinks sports shows should be more like “The View”

  • Knight15

    I’m black and even I think that’s wrong.  If it were a white guy that said it, my people would have called Reverend Al Sharpton and have a million man march on it but because he’s one of us, he can get away with it.  They basically swept it under the rug, if we are gonna be fair, then let’s be fair about EVERYTHING.


    From the very first moment I was subjected to him I thought Screamin’ A. was the most obnoxious POS I had come across in years. He reminded me of another black TV sports reporter we had in Boston affectionately called “Jimmy the Bigot” There was no such thing as anything newsworthy involving a white player unless it was to call that player a racist. When the NBA season ended I gave thanks thinking I was free from “Stevie the Bigot” But ESPN still insists on treating him like an expert in all sports.The only thing he is an expert in is promoting himself and charging non blacks with being racists. If a non black commentator had made the same comment “Stevie” would be calling for him to be drawn & quartered. Now ESPN, here is your opportunity to show the sports world that you will not tolerate this language or behavior from anyone. Please relieve your viewers from this bigoted, racist, POS  What piss.s me off the most though is the number of black viewers out there giggling because he called Kobe an “N”!!!!


    Are you serious? DECENT?????? Believe me the only mistake was getting caught.


    Actually I think he may be a teacher there.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/HZXK3ZV6MXFVZ5ENADOKLMMAFM Patrick

    Stephen A. is a big mouth who thinks he knows more than he actually does. He is like one of them old slave Negroes with his bug eyes and ” yassa masta, whateva you say masta!’ kind of looks and he is a borderline Charles Barkley but since Charles is a Hall of Famer, and this douch isn’t, I would suspend him. Why is there a double standard for blacks but not whites?????

  • Indiana_fan

    First Takes fifteen minutes of fame is over.  ESPN please cancel this program. Your audience is much more intelligent than this.

  • Wm Ross

    Yes he said it. Look at his eyes and body language. it was like uh. uh I messed up.  Then you hear Bayless chime in real fast.  Stephen why did you lie?  You castigate (Vilma) and others for alleged miss deeds yet you did not “Man Up” today.  Mr. law and order the commissioner is always right where is your forth rightness.  I am annoyed that you had the nerve to try and tell us you did not say” N’-please”.

  • Buf123

    yes you said it, man up.  If there are any employees from ESPN that have lost a job for using a racist word GET YOUR SELF AN ATTORNEY AND GET PAID….. If  ESPN dont fire him.

  • Mudda Hucka

    Grow up, babies.  The guy is reasonably entertaining, and the show is a cash cow.  It also has a significant, young black-male following.  The hand-ringing, hyperventilating and shrillness of many of these responses reveal the sheltered, perspectiveless lives of the critics.  “‘N’ please!” is as emotionally /  racially charged as “Come on, man!”  or “Gimme a break!”  There’s a whole lot more to worry about than a black man saying “‘N please!”  I watch the show, and don’t want to see him fired or replaced for some PC B.S.  There is no show without him.

  • http://twitter.com/ryansned66 Ryan Sned


  • nicholpack7


  • Redpalacebullsox

    No, he didn’t use the “N” word, sounded to me more like “c’mon please.”  Much as some would like to hang Stephen A from the highest yardarm he has far too much sense to slip up like that.  Remember, this is the same Stephen A Smith that took it as a personal insult when debate partner Skip Bayliss put steriods and PEDs in the same sentence with Derek Jeter.  Not even the most diehard member of Red Sox Nation would do that.  seeing that this website has ties to Fox Sports, I have doubts about the motivation here.  You’re going to have to do a whole lot better than this to have any credibility.  Game, set and match to Stephen A Smith.

  • nicholpack7

    I am a whitey who adopted a black daughter 8 years ago.  It continually frustrates me how our society puts up with this double standard, and the use of that word in some African-American circles is truly a travesty.  You can tell by Smith’s own reaction after he says it and the facial expression of his guest that he did in fact say Nigga.  Smith should not be fired for this, but he should man up and admit he said it and made a mistake.  An apology should be made, he should face some sort of repercussion and then everyone move on from this.  MAN UP S.A.S!  Have higher standards for yourself and the people who died so that the Nigga word is not tolerated as the norm in our society.  I will pesonally not watch him now, but instead support people who are a good role model for my kids.

  • Adisa44

    I agree and as a Black man the word is way too offensive.  However; even if a white man calls me Nigga, he shouldn’t be fired.  Freedom of Speech is what makes America great and when it is used inappropriately; discipline should be in order but noot a loss of income.  We all need to man up and let words be just words and let actions determine true justice.  For example, if he is preventing someone from getting work or casuing bodily harm then discrimination and violence are grounds for dismissal.

  • Mjcjdaddy

    If saying    N  please is ok for him to say because hes black and it means c’mon man or something like that   then i think we all can yell it out      and we can tell any black guy be quiet it only means c’mon man   just ask     steven A smith

  • hitorbehit

    He said it and should man up and if were not an African American he would already be fired. I am about tired of the ESPN First Take show anyway . The topics are ridiculous at times and the so called moderator is beautiful but lacks control of the debate desk especially Stephen A.Smith. He is a bully on the show he talks over everybody and disrespects the other cast in my opinion but always saying to Skip “your are so disrespectful”. He dominates the show when in studio and out of studio. Skip is programed to go against him because he cannot beleive some the stuff he says meaning the show is like a rerun day after day has lost its attraction. I know this was about what Stephen A. said or did not say but wanted to address the bigger issue the show is going down and needs revamped or come on every other day.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WTSBAPGQ4MHP6JS3CMM56QWCA4 BILL

    this guy is the bigest racist out there.  heard him say things about white people, that would get a white person fired in a second if they were to say it about a black person.  he said it, but will get away with it because ESPN wont want to deal with the other biggest racists in America Jackson and Sharpton!!!!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/HZXK3ZV6MXFVZ5ENADOKLMMAFM Patrick

     bottom line fool, is this sets a precedent that it is okay to be derogatory! That is what is wrong with people these days, especially blacks who use racially charged language and get away with it. Maybe if people like YOU didnt run to the guys defense and held him accountable, things would change! That is the problem..people only want someone fired or punished when it suits their cause!  Suspend him for 6 weeks. Send some kind of message!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/HZXK3ZV6MXFVZ5ENADOKLMMAFM Patrick

    That is the problem..people only want someone fired or punished when it
    suits their cause!  Suspend him for 6 weeks. Send some kind of message!

  • James Kansier

    I am sorry. He must be fired at once. When being brought up by a bigoted father (I love him God rest his soul) it took me a long time to think appropriately. It was and is a maturing process. The word is off limits. Of course if you have ever seen Chris Rock’s stand up routine it’s ‘white people are weird, white people smell defiantly. white people talk funny’ and so on. Children watch and listen…are we progressing or digressing? Parents need to instill the most basic foundation of human rights as an issue…younger and better.

  • M. Alexander Brown

    He needs to man up. Of course he said it. Just say that is the way I talk at home. I got too comfortable and it slipped. Now when a Caucasian public figure lets it slip we get the same BS, and maybe an apology. The bottom line in either case is that is how they talk in private. So, man up stop the lip service. apologize for letting it slip and the example set forth and move on. This BS denial just makes me mad. Obviously it wasn’t meant as a racial slur.

  • Eric Jenkins

    Wow, anyone who thinks he said the n word is a complete  idiot.  He was obviously stuttering before he said please.  The person who wrote this article needs to get their ears checked.

  • Eric Jenkins

     “For whatever reason, Smith is allowed to get away with doing and say
    inappropriate stuff while other ESPN employees are fired for writing things like this about Jeremy Lin.”  Its more like, “For whatever reason, people are allowed to post completely false articles just to piss people off”.  Maybe you’re the one who should be fired.

  • Mudda Hucka

    “Fool” is “you” with your all-caps for emphasis, and road-rage mentality.  I’m sure you’re a very well-balanced individual. Have a nice day.  And don’t watch the show if you don’t like it.

  • Mudda Hucka

    And why don’t you put a few more exclamation points in your paragraph?  I’m guessing you’re a violent dude.  A lot of anger.  Get some help before you hurt someone.


    This guy should be fired. He has flipped off someone on TV. said the N word more than once. WHATS IT GOING TO TAKE TO FIRE HIM! People have been fired for less that what he has done MORE THAN ONCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mexoplex

    i doubt youre black. because in other posts around the internet, anybody that brings up Al Sharpton and the MMMarch into anything is 9 times out of 10 w-h-i-t-e. Say what you want but youre trying too hard to impress uh,… somebody, i just dont know who.

  • Doc Savage

     You batt, you batt. . . .

  • theslowrider

    He’s a liberal liar. Lying is second nature to all democrats. Next.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B2TLYMF43HG4WPJUZCMA5S5JRU Gregory

    Not sure why anyone is unclear of what he said.  He clearly said the N-word and only becuase he claimed it was his fast talking is anyone thinking it’s unclear.  He should be held to the EXACT same standard as anyone else on the air that used that word would be.  Also, if he did not say the N-word, why is it not easily cleared up by telling us what word he did say.  Fast talking or not, he said what he said or he can compound his lie by at least telling us what word he wants us to believe he said.  It’s pretty simple.

  • jralphroman

    Nigga please….you be lying

  • jralphroman


  • Billy King

    If you fire a white tv or radio personality for using racial slurs, then you should fire Stephen A.  This is why America won’t ever grow because of the injustice that goes on.

  • Billy King

    No lying is second nature to humans.  They all lie until they get in office and the real person shows up.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A7EH77CJZRNMKU62BPPZXH6G3Y RJJ

    Shame is Hard to swallow SON!!!! Well guess what it Taste better with Hot Sauce and the Truth ..LMAO 

  • Charles Jones

    Yeah he said it, now he’s lying.  If supposedely he didn’t say it what else fits there.  If he had been smart enough he might have tried a better lie by saing he said Negro Please, but your ears are bad, i mean real bad if you couldn’t “gga” at the end with the long sounding A.  I don’t know how stupid he thinks we are but for some of us who are that kind of vocabulary every day we know exactly what he said.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QKYDVEBUPTXIJCHXNBUD7X2EFA T.J.

    There is a double standard in all races!!! If Stephen A. Smith had said something racist like ahh that “Blank” or that “Blank” about a white athlete he would be fired just like the analyst or sportswriter that got canned for the Jeremy Lin incident. Look everyone is missing the point, Yes he was wrong and should be fired but our society today doesn’t hold one responsible for using degrading terminology on our own race or ethnicity it’s only when we do it to another race. That my friend is when that double standard comes in and it is not right at all. Look I am Black and I’m very disappointed in Stephen A. but I more so disappointed in ESPN as they keep allowing this crap to happen.