The Feud between ESPN Provocateur Stephen Smith and Kevin Durant
Stephen A Smith’s feud with Kevin Durant has been talked about much lately. Smith, a wrestling character, who masquerades as a sports analyst ranted about Durant on ESPN’s First Take on Monday morning.
Apparently, Smith said on air last week that Durant has interests in signing in with Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes a free agent summer of next year. Durant was quick to shot down these allegations during his interview with The Oklahoman after his practice on Friday.
Durant said during the interview, “I don’t talk to Stephen A Smith at all. Nobody in my family, my friends, they don’t talk to Stephen A Smith. So he’s lying.”
Smith answers Durant’s statement
Durant’s statement was followed up by Smith on Monday, saying, “The sensitivity these guys are showing, they are making unnecessary enemies. I am not one of them. I won’t be. I got too much love and respect for who these guys are, and what they mean to my community. But I will say this lastly: you don’t want to make an enemy out of me. And I am looking right at the camera.”
Smith also took to Twitter on Friday, saying that he didn’t claim that he had spoken to Durant or any of his family members and teammates about Durant’s free agency. He reaffirmed that he had heard from some folks that the cities Durant is considering when he chooses to leave OKC were Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Miami, and New York. He also said that it would be false and “totally uncalled for” to say that he lied.
Smith wrote in reference to Durant’s discussion of his displeasure with the media during the 2015 All-Star Weekend in New York, “It just appears that @KDTrey5 needs to learn something about today’s world in professional sports: We don’t have to talk TO HIM to talk ABOUT HIM!”
In addition, he wrote, “Folks like ME will still be here. Watching! Listening! Waiting! Reporting! Whether he likes it or not. While he’s here and long after he’s gone.”
How ESPN handled it
As it turns out, ESPN endorsed Smith’s egomaniacal tirade that they even tweeted out the clip after it has aired. It is currently 2nd on the most re-tweets among ESPN tweets for the last 24 hours; which is remarkable as there are about 13 NFL games were played on Sunday.
For many years, Smith has been given more “pass” as a provocateur than his ESPN colleagues. Last summer, he insinuated Janay, Ray Rice’s wife, and was partially responsible for beating her husband bestowed on her last winter. “We also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation,” says Smith.
After 3 days, Smith apologized for his comments, but was only given a week off air. More than a month later, ESPN suspended Bill Simmons for about 3 weeks for calling Roger Goodell a liar in one of his podcasts.
Although there was a lot on the news on Monday morning, Smith managed to be the 2nd trending topic on Twitter that day; second to Sabathia.