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.
Giardi and Price discuss the mega deal that CB Josh Norman signed with Washington and if he is worth it. They also relate it to the Pats and Malcolm Butler. Does the Norman deal mean that Butler is about to cash in and will the Pats go along for the ride? This leads to a discussion on other players the Patriots need to extend very soon.
Danny Vitale, the SuperBack - a fullback/TE hybrid type - joins GIardi and Price on NFL Sunday to discuss the process of entering the NFL Draft, the combine and interviewing with various NFL teams including your New England Patriots.
With the NFL draft only a few days away, Mike and Chris preview how things are shaping for the Pats and the rest of the league. It will be a strange this year since they don't have a first round pick - how will Belichick and company approach this dilemma? Also, would the Pats contemplate the idea of trading Jimmy G?
Kevin O'Connor of CelticsBlog joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss for a breakdown of what went wrong in the Celtics series against the Hawks. they then played Celtics free agent tinder and looked ahead to the big moves in store for the offseason.
It wouldn't be a Celtics v Hawks Game 6 preview/Game 5 breakdown without ESPN's Celtics Whisperer Chris Forsberg joining Sam Packard and Jared Weiss for some WEEI Studio magic. They discuss the Hawks' transition dominance on their mega runs and the bizarre night for Isaiah Thomas. Of course they also answered your #WEEICeltics Tweet Bag questions!
The boys recap Marcus Smart and Paul Millsap's incredible battle in the Celtics' Game 4 win over the Atlanta Hawks with ESPN's Chris Forsberg. Jared Weiss and Sam Packard discussed Jared Sullinger's struggles and the reemergence of Machine Bun Kelly. They discuss inside media stuff like when to applaud for honorees and Chris' devotion to southern unsweetened tea. Of course they answered your #WEEICeltics Tweet Bag questions too.
Red Sox third base/infield coach Brian Butterfield joined Rob Bradford to get his take on Hanley Ramirez, Travis Shaw and Pablo Sandoval. Butterfield, an avid Patriots fan, also predicts who the Pats might take in the second round, while giving a very pointed message to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia after he had a two home run game, one of which was a grand slam that propelled the Red Sox to a 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves
We sit down with the Skipper of the Sox, manager John Farrell joins Dale, Holley and Thornton for his weekly visit.
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Butch is joined by two-thirds of the Sunday Skate show in DJ and Pete. The guys discuss the problems with Bruins including leadership and grit, who should stay and who should go and if Claude is to blame.
Lucy calls in to talk about her podcast and the "More Than Mean" tweets. The guys are now big fans.
All the latest stories brought to you by Kirk Minihane.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk discuss what the Patriots will be looking for on the second day of the draft.
After forfeiting their 1st round pick, the Pats get to join the party and draft some new young talent. The guys look at who the team might select over the weekend.
Kirk took more shots at Glenn, Lou and Christian, so the midday show guys respond.
Glenn, Lou and Christian talk about how much money Laremy Tunsil lost when his Twitter, Instagram, and iPhone photos were hacked. The gang also addresses some ESPN on ESPN crime as Dan LeBetard took a few shots at Todd McShay.
We continue to talk NFL Draft, Brady's new lawyer, the Celtics playoff bouncing, Roger Goodell's award tour and more... its all on the table on a freestyle friday.
We discuss the hiring of a top notch litigator by Brady and the NFLPA, and how it might have been sparked by Roger Goodell's neverending award tour where he continues to spew lies and half-truths to the public.
We discuss the Celts exit from the playoffs, the steps they took this season to be better, and what steps need to be taken to keep getting better in the future.
It’s all about the music – the crew touches on Prince, and the greatest bands of all time
Mikey, Christian Arcand, and Chris Villani talk about the Sox horrific loss today, and MJ takes over the text line
Mikey, Christian Arcand, and Chris Villani talk about the Sox horrific loss today, plus they’re joined by Cassie, the Textress
SB Nation's Kevin O'Connor joins Butch Stearns and John Tomase to talk all things Celtics' offseason, including the upcoming draft
Schill joins Dino, Gerry and Kirk after his controversial Facebook post sparked outrage on social media.More from this show
Sausage tells the guys that he's moving onto greener (read: more lucrative) pastures. His potential replacement, Paul, is interviewed for the job.More from this show
As predicted, ESPN canned Curt Schilling regarding the North Carolina transgender laws. Glenn and Lou react.More from this show
Tomase calls in to defend his take on Curt Schilling being dismissed from ESPN.More from this show