Stephen A. Smith
Stephen A. Smith of ESPN and Sirius XM Radio checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday morning to explain his criticism of Tom Brady following the quarterback’s failure to join his Patriots teammates at the White House last week to recognize their Super Bowl victory. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
There has been speculation that Smith was implying race had a role in Brady’s decision to pass on meeting Barack Obama last Thursday, but Smith flatly denied that.
“It’s utterly ridiculous,” Smith said. “You’re going to have bloggers and folks in the media that react to bloggers and they try to use headlines to try to make a story. I never, ever, ever said, nor would I have called Tom Brady a racist. That’s ridiculous. … His reputation has been impeccable. He’s been class personified on every level. And it’s utterly ridiculous for people to go that route. But that’s the age that we’re living in. So be it. I’m a big boy, I can take it.”
Smith said he doesn’t know if Brady’s politics played a role, although in his rant last week he noted that Brady showed up for the three previous ceremonies in the early 2000s when Republican George W. Bush was in the White House.
“What I am saying is, you are the President of the United States of America. You respect the office, and if the man requests you, you show up,” Smith told D&C. “And if you don’t show up you either be straight up and honest and tell us, ‘You know what? This is why I’m not coming.’ Or you show up. What you don’t do is sit up there and say, ‘a family commitment.’ If it was a family emergency or something along that line, that would be different.
“I’m quite sure the owner, Mr. Robert Kraft, had commitments. I’m quite sure coach Bill Belichick, the de facto GM as well, had commitments. They showed up.”
Other marquee players such as Steelers linebacker James Harrison and Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch have missed such ceremonies in the past, but Smith said Brady stands out because of his reputation.
“Tom Brady is Mr. Impeccable,” Smith said. “Tom Brady is the one that cares about his image down to the T — the way he walks, the way he talks, the way he dresses, the way he carries himself, the quotes that he gives, how politically correct he has always been. James Harrison will never be accused of that, Marshawn Lynch will never be accused of that.”