ESPN's Stephen A. Smith joined Mut & Merloni Tuesday to discuss the upcoming NBA season and the controversy that has surrounded him since uttering what sounded like a racial slur last week on ESPN's "First Take."
While discussing Kobe Bryant's status for the Lakers' season opener against the Mavericks last week, Smith said what sounded like, "Kobe Bryant is going to miss it because 'My foot is sprained?' Are y'all crazy? [Expletive] please." Smith denied using the slur, though he said that if ESPN had decided to suspend him for the incident, he would have accepted it.
"I would not have faulted them one bit whatsoever because we live in a business where perception is reality," Smith said.
Here is Smith's complete answer to Lou Merloni asking about the reaction to the incident:
"Well first of all, I totally understand the reaction. Secondly, I categorically deny that I said it, but please understand that those who think I did are not alone. I have four older sisters. I have my mother, OK, and three of them thought I said it and two did not. I understand it, and there's a level of heat that comes along with that because of the position that I'm in.
"The fact of the matter is that if you're on the airwaves, you have no business articulating such a word, but I think people need to remember one thing about me, and it's very, very simple: If I thought said it, I'd admit it. I'd have no qualms about that. If I ended up getting suspended by ESPN, I would have had no problem with that, even though I sit here and emphatically tell you that I did not say that.
"Please understand something about me: If ESPN had said, 'Well listen, it sounds like you said it, and as a result we feel we have to take this position and we're going to suspend you,' I would have shook their hands, I would have said 'I totally understand that the image of the brand is far more important than that of Stephen A. Smith and that's because these are your airwaves.' It's that simple to me.
"Now, I'm not going to get into the fact that what I heard when they replayed it for me is entirely different what I hear from these links that are posted online. It seems to me some doctoring is going on. That's neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is I've got to speak slower, I have to make sure that I articulate my words clearly, and I do understand because some of my family members said they thought I said it, so I get the fact that the public feels that way.
"All I'm asking the public to understand is that I don't run from being who I am. I don't run from the things that I say and the things that I do. I'm not flawless, I'm not perfect, I'm not infallible, but the one thing I can promise you is this: If I thought I said it, or even because the public by and large thinks I said it, and ESPN came to me and said to me, 'We need to make sure there are repercussions here and we're going to suspend you,' I would not have faulted them one bit whatsoever because we live in a business where perception is reality, and I have to own that perception, so whether it's you or anybody else who thinks that I said it, I'm going to tell you I didn't, but please know that I have absolutely positively no problem with you saying, 'Well I think I heard differently' and acting accordingly. It does not bother me at all.
"I've got to make sure I don't come close to even hinting that something like that could happen again. If I do, I'm going to pay the price for it, and that's what comes with the territory. That's big-boy rules. It's what grown men do, and last time I checked, I stopped being a little boy a long time ago."
Asked what he actually did say, Smith replied, "I don't even remember."
Smith also discussed the Celtics, Heat and the rest of the major contenders in the NBA. For more on that, check the Green Street blog shortly.
For complete NBA coverage, visit weei.com/celtics.
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price wrap up how the Patriots fared in the 2015 NFL draft and what they accomplished.
WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Ryan Hannable discuss the selection of 6-foot-2, 320-pound defensive lineman Malcom Brown out of the University of Texas by the Patriots with the 32nd overall pick Thursday night and where the Patriots might go to fill needs in Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Joe and Dave are joined by Mookie Betts who had the first multi-HR game of his career as he drove in the Red Sox only runs in a 2-0 win over the Rays
Former big leaguer and broadcaster Tim McCarver joined Joe and Dave on the night where the 1975 Red Sox were honored at Fenway and talked about his experiences as a player and broadcaster and gave some insight into Allen Craig
On the night where the 1975 Red Sox were honored at Fenway, Luis Tiant came up to the booth to talk about his time in the majors and the 1975 team
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
DJ, Naoko and Pete get into the huge week for the Bruins that saw the franchise move on from GM Peter Chiarelli. They discuss why that was done and if they agree. What does this mean for Claude? They talk about Claude and if he can exist here. If not, who would work in Boston? They also get into the NHL Draft Lottery last night and talk to ESPN Boston's Joey "National" McDonald live from Tampa, Florida.
Curt Schilling joined the show to give his thoughts on the Sox.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed the Sox honoring the 1975 team.
The Wells Report has been released and it's very damning of Tom Brady and two Patriot employees. We broke the news on our show. Lou, Christian and Tim go over some of the key items in the documents, and take caller reactions.
Kevin Millar talks about the rotation, Allan Craig, Clay Buchholz , Ben Cherington and what it was like playing with Pedro Martinez.
Heath Evans joins the show to talk about how the AFC East looks after the NFL draft.
We talk all things Sox, good and mostly bad, with one of the great voices of the club, our friend Dave O'Brien.
Warranties last only 90 days, but the NFL has taken 102 days to investigate "Deflategate" and the hypocrisy is still around in leaps and bounds.
Whether it be Rex Ryan visiting with a potential murderer, or the Seahawks denial about whether Frank Clark assaulted a woman, the NFL and their no-tolerance stance on domestic violence looks worse now with the 2015 draftees.
Mikey, Lenny, and Erin talk about the Sox 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Patriots Day and the Sox hold on first place in the AL East. Also, the Celtics trail the Cavs 1 Game to 0 in their 1st Round series and the 2015 Boston Marathon is in the books.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Ben and Russ preview Revs vs Red Bulls, talk about the state of the MLS, and discuss the latest rumors and gossip.
In honor of the release of "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Jerry and his pal Adam "Uncle Buck" Cormack discuss the Golden Age of the Superhero Movie, why the genre is so popular and count down their all time favorite superhero films.
The NFL has welcomed 32 new players into the league as of last night and there are many implications for Fantasy Football this season. Jim Hackett & Pete Davidson of Rotobahn.com get into who was picked, where they landed and how the impacts the 2015 Fantasy Football landscape. Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Amari Cooper and Kevin White top the list of 10 skill position players taken in Round 1 and Jim and Pete have plenty of analysis and opinion to bridge the gap before Round 2 starts. Enjoy!
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Tom E Curran joined the show to talk about the possible approach that the Patriots had when the decided to go heavy on front 7 guys and not draft a CB until the 7th round.More from this show
Warranties last only 90 days, but the NFL has taken 102 days to investigate "Deflategate" and the hypocrisy is still around in leaps and bounds.More from this show
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