ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Blames ‘War on Drugs’ for Inner City Violence

On Monday’s “First Take” on ESPN2, personality Stephen A. Smith attacked former President Ronald Reagan’s “war on drugs,” blaming it for the “frustration” and “violence” of African-Americans and other inner city residents today.

Smith, who was originally reacting to the report that former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith was shot and killed in a road rage incident, explained that the “war on drugs” resulted in African-Americans and inner city folks being thrown in prison, which has led to frustration within the community.

“Len Bias, star at Maryland, dies in June of 1986 from a cocaine overdose,” Smith said. “Congress panics. Everyone politicizes it, the Reagan administration talks about the ‘war on drugs’ and all of a sudden you have a situation where 100 grams of cocaine is the equivalent of one gram of crack. Crack was considered to be an inner city drug. As a result, an abundance of African-Americans and folks in the inner city, who didn’t even happen to be African-American, were being thrown in prison. And so when that is your priority and that is the perception you’re feeding to a nation of people, all of a sudden the opportunities are going to dwindle. If the opportunities dwindle, then you are going to have people who feel hopeless. If they feel hopeless and helpless, ultimately they are going be frustrated. Frustration leads to violence.”

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