Wednesday, ESPN2 “First Take” co-host Stephen A. Smith reacted to San Francisco 49ers quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick sitting out on voting in the 2016 election by delivering one of his greatest rants ever.
Smith called Kaepernick “shameful” and a “flaming hypocrite” for kneeling for the national anthem until change is made but choosing not to vote to make the change he wants.
The ESPN host urged fellow media members to take the camera and spotlight off of Kaepernick because his protests have meant “absolutely nothing.”
Partial transcript as follows:
As far as I’m concerned, Colin Kaepernick is irrelevant. I don’t want to hear from him again. I don’t want to hear a damn word about anything that he has to say about our nation, the issues that we have, racial injustices, needing change, etc. He comes across as a flaming hypocrite. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not interested in a damn word that he has to say. I hope he goes away. He’s lucky to be in the league right now. He’s 0-3 as a starter, completing 52 percent of his passes. He doesn’t look good at the quarterback spot. I don’t care about rust or anything else.
My days of rooting for him have come to an end, and here is why. As an African-American in this country you have to be sensitive to the fact that Civil Rights legislation was passed in the mid 1960’s, ok? When we talk about the battles that have been fought, the things that have happened to people, what they’ve had to endure, the fact that folks ended up dying for the right for him to have the right to vote in this great country of ours, you have the opportunity to vote. And what exactly is voting all about? Ladies and Gentlemen, you know what voting is? Do you not understand that that’s the reason why we’re the greatest country on the planet Earth?
It’s not just because of our wealth. it’s not just because of the resources that we have available to us. It’s because we have the power to change and manipulate the course not just of our lives but of generations to come because of the voice that we have through the vote to provoke change. If anybody in this country should appreciate that more, it is African-Americans.
Knowing all of this and then having the audacity to kneel for the national anthem, talking about how you won’t stop until there is change that takes place, but ignore the very thing, the most poignant thing you can fathom to help facilitate that change, and you play no active role in that? It’s inexcusable.
When President Obama was campaigning on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton and he spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus, what he said was he would consider it a personal insult to his legacy if black folks did not activate themselves within this election. And Colin Kaepernick, after all this noise that you made, even though you didn’t intend to do so by offending our military service men and women, and pointing out about how you wanted to bring attention to racial injustices and beyond in this country, to turn around and not to even take your behind to the polls to vote for a particular candidate, it is shameful, absolutely shameful.
Him, of all people, because of the position he took, because of the attention he brought to the issues, the fact that you don’t even have the decency to go to the polls and activate yourself in this election as our president said is a damn shame. I don’t want to hear another word from Colin Kaepernick. It’s a waste of time. As a matter of fact, I would personally make a request to the media in this station, wherever he is, if he ain’t on that football field trying to throw another damn incomplete pass, do me a favor and make sure one thing: take the camera away from him. It means nothing. Because for him not to vote, as far as I’m concerned, everything he said meant absolutely nothing. Absolutely nothing. I don’t want to hear another damn word from him.
Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent