Stephen A. Smith Fires Back After Jonathan Papelbon’s Accusation of Racism

Stephen A. Smith threatens legal action after former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon accused Smith of “racism” and claimed he was kicked out of the Phillies’ clubhouse did.

“What does it mean that I’ve been kicked out of the Major League Baseball clubhouse?” Smith said.

“I’ve been a reporter and sports commentator for 30 years. I’ve never had that happen in any sport. I’ve never been kicked out of the locker room. I’ve never been kicked out of the clubhouse. … That’s a lie. I could sue your ass for that lie now, but I won’t.”

The feud between the two began earlier this week when Smith went on a rant about how confused he was by Mike Trout’s inability to stay healthy despite playing a non-contact sport.

Appearing on the program foul territoryPapelbon told Smith.

“I demand that ESPN do something about it,” Papelbon said.

“I demand that ESPN fire him or take a pay cut or do something about it, because honestly no one wants to hear what he has to say. It’s just for the likes. He doesn’t really know what he’s saying…this is what he’s saying. He’s just a fool who doesn’t know.”

“When people bring up the word racist, I think if they saw you and me sitting together, they would look at you before they saw me,” Smith retorted.

“I’ve never talked about you. You’re irrelevant. At least until today.”

Smith said Papelbon may have accused him of xenophobia for comments he made in 2021 in which Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani said his inability to speak English hurt his marketability and the sport. I had no choice but to guess.

Smith then spoke about why he takes accusations of racism so seriously.

“I am Black,” Smith said. “We have a history of experiencing racism. And I would never call you a racist because what I’m saying is wrong, it’s irresponsible, it’s petty, and I’m desperate if I get a reaction. Because you no longer have a reliable playing career, I think you need help in other areas.

“That’s the most you can get from me. Grow up, bro. What you said about me sounds like a gross racist, but unless I’m still convinced, I won’t call you that.”