First Take spent two segments today discussing the story in PEOPLE that President Trump wants Kanye West and Colin Kaepernick to participate in a race summit. The first segment, above, got a bit contentious toward the end between Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith.
Stephen A. didn’t want to judge Trump from a policy perspective but said that he wishes he carried himself in a more statesmanly manner. Nevertheless, he said he didn’t have a problem with Trump calling for this summit with regards to Kaepernick, but had a big issue with Kanye being included because of his recent comments about slavery being a choice.
Kellerman responded: “If Kanye West’s comments on race are disqualifying in terms of his participation in a race summit, then Donald Trump’s certainly have been. Donald Trump ran on white-ethno-centrism really, on white-ethno-nationalism, and in fact you can see that racial resentment among white people was the best predictor of a vote for Donald Trump. So, you have to ask yourself is the person calling this summit an honest broker, or are they rather engaging in a cynical political maneuver? I would say the latter pretty clearly.”
Kellerman said that since Kaepernick seems to be an honest broker he should turn down this meeting. This is, essentially, the same thing that Jemele Hill said about President Trump on Twitter, and found herself in a national uproar over. However, Kellerman was doing it on ESPN’s airwaves as opposed to on social media, and the study he was citing came from the Washington Post.
With regard to Kanye, Kellerman basically said that he doesn’t take him seriously as a public intellectual, but rather as an artist, and therefore downplayed how serious his remarks about slavery really were.
Stephen A. got very agitated about this, and asked Kellerman how he would respond if a prominent Jewish person said the Holocaust was a choice. Kellerman responded that he didn’t put much stock into it when half-Jewish chess champion Bobby Fisher said looney anti-semitic things.
Stephen A. then started yelling: “Fall back everybody, I’m the black man on this show. I’m telling you what that man said and how incredibly insulting that is. This is not a debate. What he said was out of line.”
Stephen A. then again brought up what the reaction would be if someone in the Jewish community made similar remarks about the Holocaust, and then they went to break. When they returned, it got tied up a little bit better with everybody reaching a general understanding.