On the Friday broadcast of ESPN2’s “First Take,” co-host Stephen A. Smith reacted to the funeral of boxing legend Muhammad Ali and being asked if there would ever be another athlete activist like Ali.
Smith said he “sincerely” doubts we ever see another athlete like Ali because athletes today know the “financial ramifications” of speaking out in the way Ali did.
“Folks in corporate America who happen to be white, the white establishment, has successfully gone about the business of ingratiating themselves with the black athlete where you no longer find yourself a part of a monolithic group. You step outside of it and you look at having mass appeal and therefore you are conscientious about not alienating the masses because ultimately it can have financial ramifications that you may not want to deal with,” Smith explained.
He continued, “One of the things I don’t say or speak about very often, Skip Bayless, there are few, not all, not most, but there are a few professional athletes of African-American descent that can talk all they want to talk but they don’t mess with their own. People who interview them with usually white, people they talk to are usually white, people they confide in are usually white. They don’t mess with their own. They know who they are. That is not Muhammad Ali. That was never Muhammad Ali. That was never going to be Muhammad Ali.”
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