The NBA world was stunned today when news broke that longtime Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge was retiring and head coach Brad Stevens would be promoted to President of Basketball Operations, leaving the team without a head coach for the time being. It was shocking news for all sorts of reasons.
Stephen A. Smith, though, was incensed about Stevens' promotion. He believed Stevens underperformed dramatically this season and instead of getting fired, like many other coaches would, he received a promotion. Smith said this is another example of the type of favoritism white coaches receive over Black coaches in basketball.
Later on during First Take, ESPN brought Kendrick Perkins in to discuss the development with Smith and Max Kellerman. Smith got passionate when questioning why players never stood up for Black coaches or executives in the NBA and ended up storming off the set.
Smith's emotion is what makes him a great TV personality, but it's never gotten to the point where he feels the need to recuse himself at risk of saying something that could get the network and himself into some hot water. He also called out Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown specifically, although it is unclear if that happened before or after he walked off the set.
This is not the first time Smith has spoken out about this specific issue. As mentioned above, he was equally angry about the surprise hiring of Steve Nash last year.