The ongoing feud between Stephen A. Smith and Jason Whitlock escalated earlier this week when the ESPN host unleashed a profanity-laced tirade on the Blaze Media personality.
Smith went on a fiery, 40-minute diatribe on The Stephen A. Smith Show on Wednesday in response to Whitlock questioning the veracity of his memoir.
On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by Whitlock, host of Blaze TV’s Fearless, to discuss the root of the controversy and how he feels about Smith’s outburst.
As Whitlock explained it, Smith’s latest blow up stems from an argument that happened several months ago. He said he heard Smith and fellow analyst Shannon Sharpe taking “some shots at someone that I didn’t feel like they were being fair in taking those shot.”
Whitlock said he called them out for it, which led Smith to call him a “fat bastard” among other things on his podcast. “At that point I was like, well, man, Stephen A.’s got this book out, let me do a little homework on Stephan A. so, when he comes after me, I’m just more prepared,” he recalled. “And so I read his memoir, and his memoir is farcical.”
Smith released his memoir, Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes, back in January 2023. In reading it, Whitlock said it called to mind Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father where he believes the former president was “playing with these little false fake narratives and making these points that are trying to set him up for a political career.”
According to Whitlock, he tried to “fact check” some of the things Smith wrote, which led him to conclude “there is a lot of fiction in this guy’s memoir.” Given Smith’s national profile, Whitlock found it unbecoming. “There’s a lot of things he wrote and said about himself that just don’t pass the smell test,” he said. “How can a guy that doesn’t understand sports on an elementary level be the face of sports punditry and the biggest voice in ESPN?”
That led Whitlock to write an article for Blaze Media last week and devote some of his show to detailing what he called the “outright lies [Smith’s] told on air about his narrative growing up and as an athlete.” In Whitlock’s view, he “just started raising questions about the facts and the truth of [Smith’s] memoir and that triggered him.”
Megyn joked that Whitlock was putting it “mildly” when he said Smith was “triggered,” because the commentator devoted an entire episode of The Stephen A. Smith Show this week to Whitlock – specifically, how much he “hates” him.
She played a few of the ‘highlights’:
Smith: He’s a no good individual, probably the worst individual I have ever had the displeasure of ever being associated with in any capacity… I even took the liberty of calling my pastor to apologize in advance for what I’m gonna say about that no good bastard… As a black man knowing our history [there isn’t] anything worse than a white supremacist, that is until Jason Whitlock came along… I hate this bastard far more than a little bit. He is the worst human being any of you will ever meet. You get within a mile of his presence, wrap your arms around yourself to protect your soul. He is Cain. He is a devil. The worst.
Whitlock said he is not surprised Smith invoked race. “He wraps himself in a lot of these conversations as a Black man… if [he] gets criticized, [he] loves to say, ‘Well, the only reason why you’re criticizing me is because you’re a racist,'” he said. “I take that away. They can argue that I’m a racist for criticizing Stephen A. Smith, so he came up with a new category – I’m ‘worse than a white supremacist.'”
He noted, however, that he’s always offered critical reviews of nonfiction books written by his peers, citing Mitch Abloom’s The Fab Five and Joe Posnanski’s Paterno as two such examples. “I’m holding Stephen A. Smith to the same standard as them and that’s ‘racist,'” Whitlock explained. “When you become accustomed to preferential treatment, equal treatment feels like oppression. That’s what’s going on with Stephen A. Smith.”
‘Brush it Off’
One of the things that stood out to Whitlock was how personal Smith’s attack was. “I’ve never seen anybody this high profile in the media that represents a network in that way tape something that unprofessional and air it,” he said. “The profanity, the name calling.”
Megyn agreed and questioned Smith’s reasoning. “It is amazing to see [‘white supremacist’] busted out against a Black man who is… saying, ‘I don’t believe some of these claims you’re making in this memoir. My opinion is you’re lying,'” Megyn said. “How does that make your white supremacist? I don’t even follow the argument.”
Ultimately, she had a pro tip for Smith. “If you’re a true pro, you brush it off and you move on,” she concluded. “He’s pulling a Meghan Markle… and the ad hominem attacks on you seem to be his defense.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Whitlock by tuning in to episode 701 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.