ESPN hosts Stephen A. Smith, and Ryan Clark went on the attack Friday against white media analysts who have criticized Rams player Aaron Donald for using a helmet as a weapon to hit opponents in practice.
After multiple fights broke out during a joint practice between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday, video emerged showing Rams star Aaron Donald using a helmet to attack people.
Deleted video of Aaron Donald swinging a helmet at bengals players. pic.twitter.com/dHCAGN8Bby
— Not Jake 🏻 (@CincyHub) August 25, 2022
— Sam Greene (@SGdoesit) August 25, 2022
The melee ended the joint practice on the spot, but some analysts dove into the situation and began calling for Donald to be suspended for using a helmet like a weapon. Mike Florio and Geoff Schwartz were among the sports journalists making that call.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter also said an attack with a helmet is “assault.”
That criticism brought ESPN’s Smith and Clark – both of whom are black – to cry racism on Friday’s edition of First Take.
First up, Clark, the analyst and former NFL player who refused to work with Sage Steele because she dared to say things that didn’t toe the hardcore, left-wing agenda, blasted Schwartz for saying that Donald should be suspended.
“I saw what Geoff [Schwartz] tweeted yesterday. We start getting into where Adam Schefter is saying ‘assault,’ where all of these people are saying these things are criminal. To me, that puts these players in a position where you’re making them, or you’re putting them in a category with people that rob, with people that steal, with people that assault, with people that commit domestic violence. And we have to be very careful when we start to toe that line,” Clark insisted, saying indirectly that such talk is racist.
It needs to be stressed; all Schwartz said was that Donald’s actions were dangerous. Here is what Schwartz tweeted:
Fights happen. We know that and accept it. However, swinging a helmet is out of control and dangerous. He should be suspended https://t.co/5wVA7yeCPN
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) August 25, 2022
It should also be noted that most players within Donald’s helmet-swinging range were black. So is it racist or racial for Schwartz, Florio, and Schefter to advocate for the safety of black players?
Smith then jumped in with Clark and threw out a race card of his own.
“When you got white analysts talking that way and using that language about black dudes, that’s another level,” Smith growled. “And that’s why I appreciate RC bringing that up. I’m not accusing any analyst of racism or anything like that. I’m just telling them how we take it. Now what I want to do, if I’m looking at whoever sent that tweet out, I forgot his name, it was Schwartz or whomever, but it doesn’t matter. Whoever sent that tweet out and whoever thinks like that, now I want to see if you say that about the white dude that does it. Because if I don’t hear the same verbiage, if I don’t hear the same language if something like that happens with somebody white, now I’m looking at you with a raised eyebrow and saying, ‘what the hell you trying to say?'”
"When you got white analysts talking that way … about Black dudes, that's another level."
— ESPN's Stephen A. Smith slams racist undertones when some call Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald a criminal after he appeared to swing helmets at Bengals players during a brawl pic.twitter.com/gYcG54WMBW
— The Recount Alt (@therecountalt) August 26, 2022
Notice how Smith tries to pretend he isn’t calling anyone a racist, even as he says any criticism of Donald evokes racism.
Whatever one’s feelings about Donald’s use of a helmet, it is unlikely he’ll face any disciplinary actions. The NFL has no mechanism to hand out punishments for behavior at practices, and any action against Donald would have to be levied by his team. And since he is their star player, it isn’t likely the Rams will want to do anything to put him out.