Stephen A. Smith Wants Black Players To Speak Up In Light Of Brad Stevens Promotion
Over the years, there has been a steady discourse about black head coaches in the NBA and how some candidates are passed up for less qualified white ones. This has been especially true when it comes to executive roles, which are predominantly occupied by white men. Perhaps the most egregious example of these biases occurred this past week as Brad Stevens was promoted from his role as Celtics head coach. Now, he will be replacing Danny Ainge as president of basketball operations, despite a lack of results as head coach.
Stephen A. Smith was angered by the news, and yesterday on First Take, he let his displeasure be known as he delivered a passionate monologue on the matter. In fact, Smith called on black players to voice their concerns about this trend. As Smith explained, he feels as though black players speak up about social issues, however, when it comes to their own teams, they remain quiet. Smith even touched on the George Floyd protests and how the players were so vocal during the summer.
Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for ESPN“We’re supposed to be awake. And we understand the knee on (George) Floyd’s neck wasn’t just about police brutality but the figurative semblance it provided where you’re feeling like constantly people have their knees on our neck since the time you come out of the womb," Stephen A. said. Smith eventually walked off the set following his comments, as he was frustrated by the Stevens announcement.
As it stands, this is a systemic issue throughout the NBA, and much like the NFL, it is going to take a very long time before things become more equitable. However, to Smith's point, if the players speak up, that change could very well come sooner rather than later.