His outlandish outtakes have often earned him spots on trending topic lists, but this time around, Stephen A. Smith has issued an apology. The ESPN commentator isn’t shy about sharing his opinions and his takes have stirred the pot with certain famed sports stars. This time, he caught heat for recent remarks made about Japanese Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani‘s inability to speak English.
“I don’t think it helps that the number one face is a dude that needs an interpreter so you can understand what the hell he’s saying,” said Smith. Later, he attempted to clarify his comments following an onslaught of backlash.
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“In the United States, all I was saying is that, when you’re a superstar, if you could speak the English language, guess what, that’s going to make it that much easier, less challenging to promote the sport,” Smith said. The criticism continued to pour in, so Smith decided it was time to issue a formal apology.
“I never intended to offend ANY COMMUNITY, particularly the Asian Community — and especially SHOHEI Ohtani, himself,” wrote Smith. “As an African-American, keenly aware of the damage stereotyping has done to many in this country, it should’ve elevated my sensitivities even more. Based on my words, I failed in that regard and it’s on me, and me alone!”
He called Ohtani “one of the brightest stars in all of sports” and continued to admit that he “screwed up.” Smith spoke out against the violence that has been perpetrated against Asian communities and called his remarks “insensitive and regrettable.” You can read through his entire statement below.