Tony Romo suiting up for the Mavericks is the topic du jour on this relatively slow morning in sports. The discussion on First Take about it got pretty heated. Stephen A. Smith said that “usually there is a requirement to have some kind of success in order to garner the celebratory atmosphere and ambiance that we saw for Romo.”
He brought up Donovan McNabb, who went to five NFC Championship games, and noted that there is not nearly the warm and fuzzy feelings for him in Philadelphia and nationally that there have been in Romo’s retirement victory lap, and asked whether a black athlete with a similar lack of playoff accolades has ever been celebrated like Tony Romo has.
Off the top of his head, Kellerman didn’t think there was another white athlete who, in the absence of postseason success, has been “feted to this extent” either. (Molly Qerim brought up Tim Tebow.)
“As an African-American, I’m enlightening you that these are the kinds of things away from the white community that, when folks in the black community huddle amongst ourselves and talk about discrepancies, it’s the kind of stuff that IRKS us. Because we know that those are the kinds of things that are not RESERVED for us. Sports is supposed to be the closest thing to a meritocracy. Where is it here?”
Will Cain said that this is just supposed to be a “fun and celebratory moment for Dallas,” and that Kellerman and Stephen A. were taking it too seriously. He said that the NBA undermines its games with a farcical regular season where stars sit and non-playoff teams tank. Then he took aim at Stephen A.
“What you just said is so much nonsense, and so much junk. To make this racial is so far beyond the pale that it makes real racial issues hard to pay attention to. It detracts.”
Will Cain brought up Tony Gwynn’s relationship with San Diego. Stephen A. and Kellerman both did not think this was analogous, because a single baseball player does not have nearly the control over wins and losses that a quarterback does, and Gwynn had a far superior playing career.
Stephen A. then retorted, loudly: “You don’t get to just chirp chirp chirp and talk about what we’re supposed to feel, and I don’t get a chance to respond. What the hell do you think this is? Let me be very, very clear: You’re not black. Don’t think for one second you get to tell me how to feel.”
It was a very heated segment, but later in the show Stephen A. said that he had no personal issues with Cain and that they’d be fine come 12 o’clock.