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.
We had an impromptu visit from Peter King from SI / MMQB to our Fenway Studios and decided to talk some NFL and Patriots with him.
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Dale, Holley and Rich Keefe discuss NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball with his very outspoken father Lavar Ball. The guys touch on the Celtics, his feud with his sons' high school coach, Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and much more.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts after he provided the big hit in the 10th inning driving in 3 runs as the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 4-1. Mookie talks about playing behind a pitcher like Chris Sale, and the amount of strikeouts from Sale lightens his work in the outfield.
In the final hour Christian talks about the Celtics and their poor performance and how they can not let a player like Rondo beat them. The Aaron Hernandez saga in Christian's opinion is similar to a TV show. In the late night low light a mystic has predicted that WW3 will be starting in a few weeks and Christian wonders how do you become a mystic and can you make a career out of it.
Christian talks about the Patriots visiting the White House and Gronk interrupting Sean Spicer during his press conference. Aaron Hernandez was the big story of the day and alot of people had their theories of what happened and why now. The Bruins lose another close one to the Senators and Christian talks about how the offense needs to perform better because they got a great game from the goalie and defense.
Hour 4. While discussing what kind of music Aaron Hernandez may have liked, the guys realize they hate musicals. Robert Kennedy Jr. has voice spasms. The week ends with a tragedy.
Hour 3. A game by game breakdown of the Patriots schedule. Kirk has the Patriots losing 12 games. There is breaking news that Hernandez left a note for his gay jailhouse lover.
Hour 2. Mut, Gerry, and Kirk compare LeBron to Bird. Is he the second best player of all-time if he wins a fourth title? Headlines with Kirk features sound from “Hot Chocolate.” Rear Admiral broke down the B’s playoff series with Arcand.
HOUR - The last hour of the show was all over the place as the guys did a dry rehearsal of a wacky video they're supposed to record next week. They also look at the biggest games in the NFL next year, and Fauria rips off "Keefer Madness" with his "Fauria Euphoria."
HOUR 3 - The guys get into expectations for the Celtics who are down 2-0 to the Rajon Rondo-less Bulls. They also wonder how much the Celtics are listening to Brad Stevens. Christian is excited for Caitlyn Jenner's nude spread.
HOUR 2 - News breaks that Rajon Rondo is out indefinitely with a fractured thumb. Rondo was dynamite in game 2. The guys discuss whether or not the Celtics now stand a chance.
Last two hours focused on our winter teams as they struggle in their first round match-ups.
Finish out the week on Freestyle Friday talking mostly about the Aaron Hernandez suicide and how it will affect his family in hour #2.
Hour One of freestyle Friday focused mostly on the Celtics and their matchup vs the now Rondo-less Bulls.
Kirk Minihane, Springsteen super fan, is joined by Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band. Kirk and Garry talk about what it's like on tour with Bruce, how the band goes about selecting songs for the tour, Garry's projects away from the band, and Garry's upcoming solo tour that will bring him to the New England area.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
Ben sits down with Diego Fagundez to talk about Diego's rise through the ranks of the academy, his accomplishment of reaching 10,000 minutes as a homegrown player, and how he has evolved his game.
Rich and Ben discuss the Celtics poor performances in Games 1 & 2, how we have to change our predictions, Rajon Rondo's thumb injury, and who is to blame for the terrible start to the series.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap the entire week of K&C shows in one mega Friday edition
Michele McPhee joins Kirk, Gerry, and Alex to talk about Hernandez’s suicide and the accusation that she may have contributed to his suicide.More from this show
Hour 4. While discussing what kind of music Aaron Hernandez may have liked, the guys realize they hate musicals. Robert Kennedy Jr. has voice spasms. The week ends with a tragedy.More from this show
Hour 3. A game by game breakdown of the Patriots schedule. Kirk has the Patriots losing 12 games. There is breaking news that Hernandez left a note for his gay jailhouse lover.More from this show
Hour 1. Mut believes Hernandez may have killed himself because of a threat. Trump is “done” with Brady after the quarterback skipped the White House visit.More from this show
Hour 2. Mut, Gerry, and Kirk compare LeBron to Bird. Is he the second best player of all-time if he wins a fourth title? Headlines with Kirk features sound from “Hot Chocolate.” Rear Admiral broke down the B’s playoff series with Arcand.More from this show