Use Your Smart Words
I remember growing up and being afraid to say something really stupid. Something that would make people angry, or make people point and laugh at me. As a young person, particularly a young teenager, the opinions that your peers hold of you are paramount. More important than it will be at any other juncture in your lifetime. You learn early and quickly to be cautious with your words and guarded with what you say. So much so, that even as an adult, you find a particular profoundness in the words of Abraham Lincoln who said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”
These life lessons, however, seem to be lost on the current media landscape. There seems to be a cosmic shift in the thinking among analysts, experts, and networks across the country. A mantra repeated over and over like prayers to the false god of celebrity. “Better to be thought a fool, than to not be thought of at all.”
Nowhere else is this thinking more prevalent than in the temples built by Disney and known by the four-letter acronym ESPN. No more devout a parishioner exists than that of the prophet Stephen A Smith. A man who sits proudly upon his throne of stupid comments, surrounded and strengthened by the wealth and fame that those comments have brought him.
The most recent of these, leading to a fake apology, and a lighthearted tap on the wrist from the face of their empire, were directed at Anaheim Angels outfielder and pitcher Shohei Ohtani. Smith did not even assert, he flat out said, that Ohtani’s use of an interpreter not only prevented him from becoming a benefit to the game of baseball but actually made him a detriment to the game.
Why Is Stephen A Smith Wrong?
Baseball has been struggling for years, trying to figure out how to inject youth into its fan base. In 2019, the average age of a fan watching a baseball game on television was 57 years old. Comparatively, the average age of a fan watching nationally televised NBA games is 40.
Commissioners, boards of directors, and the brass in charge of marketing for Major League Baseball have hypothesized numerous causes for their inability to get America’s youth interested in their product. The reality is, that the game is just too slow.
I grew up playing baseball. I love the game of baseball. But I’m also a realist. There’s a lot of standing around, a lot of waiting in between pitches, long batter routines between each pitch. The game drags on and on before any real action (a ball being put into play). Even the play-by-play announcers are bored with the game. They spend more time talking about their shopping habits and what movies they’ve seen recently than they do actually calling the game. They have to. Otherwise, there would be a lot of dead air.
Shohei Ohtani is a defibrillator for Major League Baseball. A jolt of electricity to the heart of the game. A young player, who smiles a lot, and seems to be having fun (think Luka Doncic in the NBA). He dazzles with a 100 mph fastball every fifth game and mystifies with 500-ft home run blasts (currently leading the major leagues in home runs). He is the definition of must-watch TV. When the Angels are on national television you can’t take your eyes off of the screen. You’re worried that if you blink, you might miss something that’s once in a lifetime special.
Fans, and most importantly young fans, cannot get enough of the Angels two-way player. During Major League Baseball’s All-Star festivities, he was the star of the show. Major League Baseball has been given a gift, and they need to showcase it, promote it, shout it from the rooftops as loud as they possibly can if they want their consumers to drink from the fountain of youth.
Shohei Ohtani may not be the face of Major League Baseball, but what Stephen A Smith is wrong about, is that he absolutely should be.
And what he is ignorant about, is that the fans that Major League Baseball are trying to entice, don’t care what language Shohei Ohtani speaks. They don’t care if he speaks perfect English, if he has a thick accent, or if he uses an interpreter. All they care about is that they have never seen anything so exciting in the game before. They want to see as much of it as they can before it’s gone.
Why Is Stephen A Smith Not a racist?
I’ve already explained, in thorough detail, how Stephen A Smith was wrong about what he said, and how his comments were ignorant. When you let fly from a quiver of stupidity, several of the arrows will be those of ignorance. However, while racism is always ignorant, ignorance is not always racism.
Many on social media have been calling Stephen A Smith’s comments racist. That is an incorrect statement. Just as incorrect as Stephen A Smith suggesting that Shohei Ohtani should not be the face of baseball.
In order for something to be racist, it needs to be aimed at a particular race, or a particular group of races. Stupidity does not stop with the talking heads on our television sets. It is a poison that infects far too many people on this planet. It is stupid to suggest that just because something is offensive, it is also racist.
Stephen A Smith did not mention Ohtani’s country of origin or his ethnicity. He simply said that he would not promote him as the face of the game because he did not speak English. English-speaking people are not a race. Therefore, any comments directed at English-speaking people or non-English speaking people, based solely on what language they speak, are not racist. They are ignorant at best.
I hope that as you conclude this article, you come away enlightened, entertained, and ready to do two very important things for sports, and for your own personal mental well-being. First, stop listening to anything that Stephen A Smith says. And secondly, more importantly, turn on the Anaheim Angels when Shohei Ohtani is playing. I would hate for you to blink, and miss something special.
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