Things got heated during Monday’s Houston Rockets-Los Angeles Clippers game.
Chippy play and players jawing at each other led to ejections, followed by Rockets players, led by Chris Paul, reportedly storming into the Clippers’ locker room to confront Blake Griffin and teammate Austin Rivers, son of Clippers coach Doc Rivers.
Tuesday on ESPN’s “First Take,” Stephen A. Smith scolded Paul, the president of the National Basketball Players Association, for the optics of trying to start a brawl on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“The fact that it happened on the day we’re celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., talk about nonviolence or whatever, I mean, evidently, the optics apparently didn’t matter to most people,” Smith stated. “All of those are good guys. We’re not trying to excoriate anybody. We’re only talking about the incident at hand. The person that I’m holding most accountable is [Chris Paul].”
Smith then added that Paul’s pugnacious behavior Monday comes in the “Colin Kaepernick era” where people are looking for every excuse to paint black athletes in a “negative light.”
“And I didn’t even get into the fact that we are living in an age, which is what I would call a Colin Kaepernick era, where you’ve got folks out there that have hijacked the real issue that he was trying to bring attention to and are looking for every excuse under the sun to paint an African-American athlete in a negative light. If anybody is cognizant of it, if anybody is intelligent enough to comprehend that as an athlete, it is CP3. To find yourself in this situation is just not a good look for him on this day,” he concluded.
Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent