Monday on ESPN’s “First Take,” co-host Stephen A. Smith reacted to Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett’s indictment on a felony count of injury to the elderly. He defended the former Seattle Seahawk because of how a black man of his size would look in the court of public opinion for shoving a 66-year-old paraplegic.
Smith started off his comments by saying if Bennett is guilty then he should be dealt with accordingly and pay the price, but since there is no video evidence and since Bennett has been nominated and given awards for his philanthropy, the ESPN host called for more evidence.
Partial transcript as follows:
Listen, this is the same Michael Bennett that was a nominee for the Walter Payton man of the year award, this is the same Michael Bennett, who along with his brother, was honored at the B.E.T. Awards for their philanthropy and sympathies for what ails our community. This is the same Michael Bennett, put this camera on me, please. It is very important I say this. He is 6’4″, 274 pounds. That’s what he is listed as; a defensive lineman in the National Football League and do we have a depiction of him getting into a fight with somebody? No. You trying to tell me this man sat up there and just shoved aside and put his hands on and disregarded a 66-year-old paraplegic?
Now, tell me what possible chance does he have to look good or to come across as innocent in all of this? You’ve got video, that’s an entirely different ball game. But, you are trying to tell me with no video whatsoever, you are just going to paint a picture as this humongous black man on a football field for the Super Bowl 14 months ago, 14 months and you are going to bring it to the equation? A 66-year-old paraplegic and what you want us to do, by bringing that up, what are we supposed to believe about this man? It sounds despicable. It sounds disgusting. Do you know what somebody who would do that to a paraplegic deserves?
Smith went on to say that if any of the information out there is wrong, then what is happening to Bennett is “beyond cruel” and why black men talk about how they are always depicted in a bad light.
“Is there anything about him that says to you that he would do something like that?” Smith asked. “And then we sit up here as black men and take this there. If we sit up here as black men and talk about the willingness to depict us in that kind of fashion, then we are going racial. But that cannot happen.”
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