So the Dallas Mavericks decided to honor Tony Romo before a game Tuesday night against the Denver Nuggets. Romo, the just-retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback, was allowed to sit on the bench, in full uniform, as fans shouted their adoring approval.
Stephen A. Smith, the First Take co-host, didn’t like that at all.
He somehow managed to inject race into the issue, claiming that the Romo adulation is indicative of some sort of disparity between black and white athletes. The exchange started like this:
Smith: “I challenge anyone to challenge me on this. … I ask a simple question: Do you know of any black athlete that won just two playoff games, didn’t have any kind of postseason success whatsoever, that gets celebrated like this? Do you know who that person is? ‘Cause I don’t know him. I’ve never seen it. Usually, there is a requirement to have a strong level of success in order to garner the kind of celebratory atmosphere and ambiance that we saw for Romo.”
His co-host, Max Kellerman, then said:
“Let me ask you this. Let’s leave race out of it just for a moment, then we can bring it back in. I can’t think of any other athlete that’s been treated this way, and this guy happens not to be a black athlete, so then we can make that point, but I also can’t think of another white athlete — maybe it exists; off the top of my head I can’t think of one — who was feted to this extent, considering they really did have very modest success in the postseason.”
Things got really interesting when Will Cain, a member of the First Take desk, jumped in and started with the requisite, “I respect you” line before calling B.S., noting that arguments like Smith’s detracts from real, tangible issues of race in this country.
Another day, another day of yelling and screaming on First Take.