Stephen A. Smith apologizes to Shohei Ohtani, gets blasted by Jeff Passan
Stephen A. Smith issued an apology on Tuesday for the controversial remarks he made about Shohei Ohtani the day before, but the mea culpa does not seem like it was enough for one of his prominent ESPN co-workers.
Smith said on Monday’s edition of “First Take” that he views it as a problem for Major League Baseball that its biggest star does not speak English. Ohtani is from Japan and uses an interpreter when he interacts with the media. Many found Smith’s take to be offensive, but he initially stood by it and said he was only making a point about “marketability and promotion.” You can see the video of his elaboration here.
Eventually, Smith apologized. He began “First Take” on Tuesday by offering his “sincere apology” to the Asian community and those he offended.
Stephen A Smith’s apology to Shohei Ohtani and the Asian community on ESPN’s First Take this morning
— Neer Ray (@NeerRayNFL) July 13, 2021
Smith issued a similar apology on Twitter Monday night. That didn’t stop Passan from sharing his unfiltered thoughts on the topic. The MLB insider also appeared on “First Take,” and he criticized Smith for “trafficking in ignorance.”
"He is the sort of person who this show, who this network, who this country should embrace. We are not the ones who should be trafficking in ignorance."
– Jeff Passan on Shohei Ohtani pic.twitter.com/6YIFKNlEYh
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) July 13, 2021
Smith’s job is to provide hot takes, but many feel he crossed the line on Monday. In addition to his Ohtani comments, he also made some remarks about the Nigerian basketball team that did not go over well.