ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said football star Tim Tebow’s return to the NFL is the prime example of white privilege.
“If I’m gonna bring up white privilege when I brought up Steve Nash getting the job in Brooklyn, is this not an example of white privilege?” Smith asked. “What brother do you know that’s getting this opportunity? … Let me be the first to say, I don’t give a damn how you feel. I mean what I say. It is white privilege.”
The 2007 Heisman Trophy-winner finalized his agreement to play tight end for the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, which prompted Smith’s continued complaints that Tebow was handed a special place on the team because of his connection to Urban Meyer instead of earning it. Black people, the commentator said he believes, are not given the same opportunities.
“When George Floyd ultimately was murdered … it wasn’t about him. It was about the symbolism of what transpired because black people repeatedly felt it was the proverbial knee on their back. We constantly have to claw and scratch our way,” Smith said.
Smith said Meyer hiring Tebow is just another example of “someone of a different ilk, a different ethnicity, getting opportunities that we know we would never get.”
“That’s where the words white privilege come in,” Smith explained before saying, “There’s no way to eradicate white privilege without white individuals giving up some of their privilege.”
The commentator concluded his unchecked rant by noting that he didn’t believe Tebow was hired because he was white, but that race still played a role in how the situation unfolded.
“I’m not saying he did it for Tim Tebow because he was white or anything like that. It has nothing to do with their race in regards to that. I’m simply saying when you see an opportunity like that happen, it is clear that it happens for white folks, and it doesn’t happen for everybody else,” Smith said.
Just last year, Smith used white privilege to decry the NBA Brooklyn Nets’ hiring of Nash as head coach because he said that kind of opportunity “wouldn’t happen for a black man.”
“There is no way around it,” Smith said. “This is white privilege. This doesn’t happen for a black man.”
After facing backlash for his comments about Nash, Smith refused to apologize and said, “I’m not budging from my position one inch.”
“I mentioned white privilege yesterday. I have a message to those who feel that I was wrong, that I need to apologize, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, etc. I don’t give a damn what y’all feel. Y’all can all kick rocks. I don’t give a damn,” Smith said.