ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is no stranger to making headlines because of his hot takes. But the veteran analyst went a bit too far when speaking about Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani during First Take on Monday.
Ohtani has taken the baseball world by storm this season, excelling both as a hitter and pitcher. He’s even drawn comparisons to all-time great Babe Ruth. Simply put, Ohtani’s become the new face of MLB (at least at the moment).
Smith admires Ohtani’s greatness, but is bothered by one aspect – and unfortunately, it has nothing to do with his game.
Smith told listeners on Monday he thinks it’s bad for baseball that its newest face of the league “needs an interpreter so you can understand what the hell he’s saying.”
Stephen A Smith saying that Shohei Ohtani, responsible for the 10 highest viewed regular season games this year and what will likely be the most watched HRD ever, shouldn’t be considered a face of baseball because he needs an interpreter. Kindly piss off
— Brain (@brian_slosh) July 12, 2021
As expected, Smith’s Ohtani comment has been met with heavy criticism. And, as you may have also expected, he took to Twitter to attempt to clarify what he said.
“My segment on Ohtani this morning, on First Take, people are misinterpreting what I’m saying,” Smith said on Twitter. “I’m not talking about the state of the game, baseball itself. Baseball’s a great game, a great sport. And some of the greatest players in the world are foreign players. … Ohtani is the second coming of Babe Ruth, okay?
“That’s not what I was trying to say. I’m talking about the marketability and the promotion of the sport is exactly what Sports Illustrated essentially alluded to in their article last month when they talked about 28 percent of the players in Major League Baseball are foreign players.
“A lot of them need translators. You know Spanish, it could be Mandarin, Japanese. The list goes on and on. If you are a sport trying to ingratiate yourself with the American public the way Major League Baseball is because of the problems you’ve been having to deal with, in terms of improving the attractiveness of the sport, it helps if you spoke the English language.”
Take a look.
On my earlier comments about Ohtani pic.twitter.com/FM0vnDDXBB
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) July 12, 2021
Unsurprisingly, Stephen A. Smith isn’t willing to issue an actual apology, which he absolutely should feel obligated to give.
Shohei Ohtani is the face of baseball and he doesn’t speak much English. Who cares? He’s one of the most exciting baseball players of this generation.
You can catch the Angels’ slugger compete in the 2021 Home Run Derby Monday night at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The post Stephen A. Smith Attempts To Clarify Shohei Ohtani Comments appeared first on The Spun.