One of the most endearing things about Stephen A. Smith was his willingness to go out on a limb. To say what was in his mind. To not mince words. To hit you upside the head with an honest comment or perspective, regardless of whether his perception was not the 'party' line or shared by the mainstream media.
Smith is caricatured frequently in Blogfrica. Screamin' Stephen. Certainly, he played into the role. But, why not? It got him a lot of face time on ESPN. Although, it might have cost him his newspaper job.
And that is why we question his most recent contribution to the ESPN dot com mainstream sports 'news' outlet (and magazine).
The writing is clearly Mr. Smith's. Clearly. The ideas and vision communicated through Mr. Smith's words; however, are foreign.
Mr. Smith says things like, "Enough with the race issue."
And, "Once upon a time, I was inclined to believe that the NBA, in an effort to ingratiate itself with its viewing public, wanted more white players to serve that purpose—until, that is, common sense taught me otherwise."
Certainly, these are Mr. Smith's words. But we wonder, where did these postulations of common sense teaching anyone about race come into play?
This takes us back to our previous statement about Mr. Smith losing an income source from his newspaper affiliation. While we understand that Mr. Smith has a need to feed his family, we wonder if this gig writing for ESPN has boundaries included.
Is Mr. Smith being forced to conform to the mainstream media or espn view of the world? Is Mr. Smith gun shy, and afraid to allow Screamin' Stephen to have a go at the key board?
I've heard such noise emanating from African-American communities in the aftermath of the Brawl in Auburn Hills, nearly four years ago. The argument goes like this: The NBA hasn't had an American-born white superstar since Larry Bird, and teams will travel to any and all corners of the earth to find a Dirk Nowitzki, a Peja Stojakovic or someone else without a remote connection to Ron Artest. The noise has been echoing again this spring, as 13 of the 16 playoff teams have at least one white international player in at least a supporting role.
If the argument made sense, the NBA would be the definition of hypocrisy, considering all the hip-hop booming in arenas around the league. Except the argument doesn't make any sense at all.
Does Mr. Smith really believe that there hasn't been a concerted movement to supplant the young Negro as the face of the league? That it is just coincidence or a response to a shifting market?
We are great fans of common sense, as is Mr. Smith.
So, we step back and ruminate on the words submitted.
Which is to be expected: Mr. Smith exposing the racist tactics of the NBA and loudly complaining about them? Or, Mr. Smith supporting, in calm language, the NBA's death sentence for the young Negro as the face of the league?
Clearly, it's more shocking to see Mr. Smith support the direction the white rulers are taking the Association.
Certainly, we at NOIS wouldn't even be discussing this if Mr. Smith had written the type of column we expected.
Adding to this righteous analysis, we can find additional comfort in a statement Mr. Smith made in an interview right here on NOIS:
I consider it my responsibility to express a point of view -- even one I may admittedly not necessarily agree with...
We can take solace in Mr. Smith's words.
This instance of conformity and compliance to the white ruling class can only be a veiled act of contrarian resistance.
We salute Mr. Smith for taking this stand to demonstrate just how misguided, misdirected and miscalculated the NBA's business plan is.
In playing into the mainstream notion that Screamin' Stephen is wrong thinking and loud mouthed; he has effectively turned the tables on the powers that be.
They have his endorsement.
How can they hate on him and hold him down now?
And at the same time, how can the rest of us agree with what he says on this issue?
Well played, sir.