On Friday’s edition of First Take, Will Cain seemed to cut a WWE-style promo on Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman about Kevin Durant not respecting President Donald Trump and announcing he wouldn’t visit the White House.

After the events that transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend, Durant said he wasn’t going to the White House when the Warriors visit President Donald Trump. Durant isn’t the first person to not go to the White House and excuses range from very legit scheduling conflicts to those reasons that may be a bit dubious.

For Durant, he made no bones about why he wasn’t going. It was because he didn’t respect the President of the United States because Durant feels Trump is fueling racism in the country by his actions, or lack thereof.

Will Cain talked about how he would accept an invite to the White House if he were to be invited “regardless of who’s in office” but agrees with Durant in that choosing to go to the White House and visit someone you vehemently disagree with is getting more and more difficult to do. Cain, however, disagreed with Durant’s “analysis” on President Trump and preferred that in a world that’s getting more and more divided, a visit to the White House to honor the NBA Champions can maybe transcend politics.

Stephen A. Smith flat-out refuted that, and even told Cain, “I don’t know what the hell came out of your mouth.” Smith disagreed that Durant is trying to make this a political issue and feels that it’s more a statement on Trump himself than it being a liberal or conservative issue. Smith saying that this wasn’t a liberal or conservative issue set Cain off and he really went off on Smith, Kellerman and anyone else within earshot.

For the sake of context, this is the extent of what transpired between the three.

Cain: “I’m tired of you not listening to me! I’m tired of you hearing what you want to hear. Listen, I’m tired of you hearing good guys and bad guys, my side and the bad side. I’m tired of you saying that anything that disagrees with you is beyond the realm of politics.”

Smith: “That would be you, go ahead.”

Kellerman: “None of those things occur.”

Cain: “I’m tired of you saying it’s moral vs. immoral. And Kevin Durant is on one side and all the immoral are on the other.”

Smith: “We’re quoting you!”

Cain: “And in the process of you cloaking yourself in this clear morality that anyone that has even the slightest bit of nuance of disagreement with you, is somehow evil. In the process of you doing this preening, this peacocking on TV, you don’t hear a single word that somebody says to you.”

Smith: “That’s BS!”

Kellerman: “Total BS.”

Cain: “When I say Kevin Durant has the right, and I compare it to Matt Birk doing it to Obama. Max, get out of here with I’m making moral equivalencies. You’re so addicted to the language of the last week that you made a BS comparison there. I didn’t say they were the same. Did I once say those are the same?”

Kellerman: “Why did you bring it up as an example, Will!”

Cain: [Points to chest] “Because I sell consistency, Max! That’s the difference. I’m not convenient.”

[All three speaking at the same time talking about consistency]

Cain: [Sarcastic] “Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re right, Max. You know what I did? I wanted to come out here and draw a correlation, an equivalency between Barack Obama and Donald Trump. That’s exactly what I did.”

Kellerman: “You may have done so unwittingly.”

Cain: “You do such a good job of not listening to make the exact point you want to make which is a simplified reduction of anything into good vs. evil, moral vs. immoral.”

That wasn’t it. After Smith challenged, arguably in a rather condescending way, asking what Cain actually said.

Cain: “You know what, it’s not an insult to say “Please listen!” And I can’t believe that somehow you’re offended by me questioning your listening skills when you question the very morality of someone who disagrees with you. Yet you get to be offended. Here’s what I said, Kevin Durant has the right, everyone has the right, no one should have moral imperative to have to support anything they don’t support. I’ve consistently held that position from administration to administration.”

Smith: “That’s not what I’m asking.”

Cain: “I’m not done! From there it flows. Kevin Durant is making a decision I by the way do not inherently disagree with which I said in my exact statements when I opened up. Yes, I believe to some extent a line has been crossed for me, Max, but I don’t put moral imperatives on other people.”

Smith: “Nah, nah, come back to me. I want an answer, come back to me. What did you say specifically about Kevin Durant and politics as opposed to him being personal? That’s what I want to know what you said.”

Cain: “I don’t even know what you’re referencing now but I’m working my way through it when I said”

Kellerman: “I’d like to hear what Will was saying, he said “A line has been crossed.””

Cain: “On a personal level, Max, that you can make decisions for yourself which I honor and respect for Kevin Durant. It’s not necessarily one I have to mimic, nor is it one I have to require of other people, yet you do. And you say that those that don’t mirror your image, mirror your choices, are those that are immoral. And that’s where we draw the line.”

Well, first off, Cain should probably take his own advice about people hearing only what they want to hear when debating. And for someone who says that there is a growing divide, Cain is the one practically screaming at Smith and Kellerman and being rather unhinged. It’s a heated debate on a very serious issue and I might be frustrated if I was in Cain’s spot, but that doesn’t make it right.

As far as the actual issue with Durant, I’m not Kevin Durant. Him going or not going to the White House is going to affect his life the most so it’s up to him to make that decision based on what he feels is best. If I was Durant, and I felt the way he has expressed he felt, I would look at going to the White House as an opportunity.

You have a rare chance to be close to the President of the United States in front of the media and dozens of cameras. Isn’t that a perfect time to express your concerns with the President and try to have him answer for what he did, in front of the media? Even if Trump doesn’t say anything or walks away and ends the visit, that could be a pivotal moment that would be talked about everywhere. If the media isn’t going to get anything out of the man, maybe an NBA champion can.

[ESPN]

About Phillip Bupp

News and soccer editor for The Comeback and I occasionally write for Awful Announcing and Freezing Cold Takes. I also do video highlight game coverage for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook @phillipbupp

  • Toad

    I don’t know why I clicked on this, I can’t stand any of these people, but you wrote it up well and satisfied whatever idle curiosity I had. But it’s very naive to think that a meet-and-greet with the president can be an opportunity to confront him on policy. “Isn’t that a perfect time to express your concerns…?” It’s just weird–it’s like saying that an autograph line or a reception line is a perfect time to confront people about your disagreements. While you’re trying to get your zinger in, the president will be smiling, not hearing you, and having the picture taken that will be published far and wide and seen by everyone as proof of your support of him.

    • Dale Moog

      That is a LOAD of crap just because you are in the same room as person means you “SUPPORT” them. So you are not allowed to be seen with ANYONE who you disagree with because you may be seen as “Supporting” them. I guess I missed the age where we are no supposed to be total AHOLES who can not even be seen in the same room with some one we have a disagreement with. What a bunch of elementary school crap.

      • Toad

        You should learn how to act in public, youngster. You’re screaming at strangers over dumb sports topics.

        • Christopher Bates

          Dunno, Toad, maybe we should defer on Mr. Moog when it comes to judging “elementary school crap.” After all, he clearly spent several years more there than the rest of us did.

          • Clint

            You know all about elmentary sophomoric shit don’t u Chris.

      • William

        Nevermind.

  • inku palios

    Honestly, First Take is people not letting people give their opinions. How long before Will Cain leaves ESPN & joins Fox Sports?

  • Christopher K. Smith

    Will Cain’s speech pattern is a clear emulation of Skip Bayless.

    • Tim

      No, clearly, I don’t see that at all.

  • Troy Appel

    Reminder: Will Cain used to work for Glenn Beck’s network.

  • thewatcher2

    You have a rare chance to be close to the President of the United States in front of the media and dozens of cameras. Isn’t that a perfect time to express your concerns with the President and try to have him answer for what he did, in front of the media? Even if Trump doesn’t say anything or walks away and ends the visit, that could be a pivotal moment that would be talked about everywhere. If the media isn’t going to get anything out of the man, maybe an NBA champion can.

    One name – Craig Hodges. He was an NBA Champion who, during his White House visit, sent a personal letter to President Bush expressing his grievances. Not only were his concerns ignored, he was out of a job and essentially blackballed soon after. We have this romanticized belief about reaching people who are unopen to ideas. Those only work in Disney films. Now, Durant is 10x the player Hodges was. However, it doesn’t mean anything he has to say will make a difference. Heck, look at the carnage at the WH with advisors getting thrown out.

    The biggest problem I have is places like First Fake and Undisputed-ly Bad, and for that matter the Clueless News Network, the Mostly Showing Nothing But Crop and Faux News, are all about noise pollution. They don’t want news. They just want to babble, babble and babble some more like it’s a freaking wrestling program. They are the real dividers!

    • souvien

      Wish Kaine had been asked…”so you would have gone to the White House in ’73 to meet Nixon..In the death throes of Watergate?”

      • Lindas1st

        Kellerman did ask Cain where that line is that once crossed is too far for him personally, sadly it was interrupted and they went to a commercial. When they returned Cain wasnt even on the set anymore- gonezo. LOL…..oh well, I would have liked to hear where that line is forr him.

  • souvien

    Will Kaine is the wretched amalgamation of Clay Travis and Mike Greenberg….contrived Alt-right pandering in fake bland packaging…

    • Amihigh

      how is he ALT right? Jesus you people are ignorant

    • Tim

      And you are a racist, white hating black supremicist. I have just as much facts to this as you do about Will Cain. Just like you saying it, I said it. It must be true.

  • BobLee Says

    It took Dick Vitale 20+ years to become a sad caricature of himself. Stephen A has managed to do so in less than 10 years. SAS is an SNL skit of himself doing Stephen A. … I guess that is what CEO John Sipper wants “moving ESPN forward” ???
    …. Chris Russo is easier to watch/listen to. I never thought I would say that about anybody.

  • Travis Hayes

    I admire that you have these pollyanna notions about the current state of affairs. I both stand by Durants right not to attend and his actual decision not to. President Trump has gained oodles of legitimacy from having people who disagree with him standing for photo ops. While I don’t think a productive conversation will come out of it either way, I’d much rather see Durant snub the White House in the most public way possible. President Trump is unlikely to become reasonable or amenable no matter what, and it would truly be shocking were it happen at the behest of a rich black man that has already publicly rebuked him.

  • Jane Gray

    Given that President Trump was 100% correct in all of his comments in regard to rejecting both groups-the KKK idiots and the Antifa morons-he has absolutely nothing to answer to the likes of the ignorant whether they be Durant or Phillip Bupp. There is not a single person in all this with a legitimate answer to what was factually wrong with what Trump said. He could dress things up to please the weak but that’s not who he is. Media and the repugnant left will hate him regardless of what he says so just tell truth

    • YGtrece

      Wrong

    • Jordie Rivers

      Wrong, snowflake.

  • Donovan Spitfire

    Look heres the bottom line. The Black lives matter movement was created on a lie. That Michael Brown Was profiled or unjustly shot etc etc etc. The FACT is he was a criminal He committed strong armed robbery. Tried to take a cops gun. Then was shot. Case Closed! Criminal Punk! But they want to martyr this loser. Pathetic. Then every other shooting since then is always unjustified in their eyes. However if they would OPEN their eyes they would see that Every single one of these black shootings by police ALL have one common denominator that they ALL start with. Whether the force is excessive or not they all start out with individuals that are A) Defiant, 2) Argumentative, 3) Beligerant, 4) FAIL TO FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. Same old denominator every single time. FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS and 99% of the time you are not going to be shot!

    • Donovan Spitfire

      Shall I give a few examples? Alton Sterling. Career criminal. Threatens homeless man with a gun. Which by the way is a felony because he is a multi time convicted felon including carnal knowledge of a teenage black girl. Then he fights with 2 police instead of complying and his ILLEGAL gun that hes reaching for falls out of his pocket. BANG. The other guy Terence Crutcher shot by the female cop. Hes told NUMEROUS times to Stop and get on the ground. So he puts his hands in the air but keeps walking all the way back to his car when they are repeatedly telling him to stop and get down. He doesn’t listen cause hes so ILLEGALLY drugged up that he keeps walking to his car window. BANG! Castille? Stoned with his girlfriend in a car with a kid in the back seat. Tells cop he has a gun and permit. Reaches in his jacket for either license or gun or who knows what. Hes Told MULTIPLE times by the officer to STOP REACHING but again hes stoned and doesnt comprehend or he is just not listening so he keeps going into his jacket. BANG! Yes Castille wasnt a career criminal but he made a dumb mistake by NOT following instructions. Are the police supposed to get killed? They have no clue what the persons mindset is and when they dont comply how do you blame them for shooting? Why dont you blame the people that dont listen? This is all BS by these idiots like Kaepernik and his sheep followers. Police DO NOT single out blacks for extinction. Blacks are shot by cops 1% of the time. Thats it! ONE PCT! Why arent these militants complaing about the 93% of blacks that are being killed by other blacks RIGHT NOW in the inner cities???? WHY? Because it doesnt fit the BLM Bullshi@ agenda!

  • Bobby Keenom

    Thanks ESPN for continuing to weigh in on politics. I used to watch and listen every morning. I have not watched in a couple of years and will only watch when football is on. I watch CNN for the Left slant, Fox for the right slant and MSNBC for hate and conspiracy theory. I dont need any of them from a sports channel.

  • Jordie Rivers

    Will Cain’s first name is F**k. His full Christian name is F**k William Cain.

    • Tim

      Wow…you are brilliant. Just like the people Cain was talking about. Anyone who disagrees with you is a a _____ (fill in the blank with a condescending or vulger remark). This is why we have the problems in this country we do…people just like you, go home and look in the mirror.

      • Jordie Rivers

        Yes, I am the cause of homelessness, drug addiction, crime, poverty, corruption, and your stupidity.

        • Tim

          Ouch…you hurt my feelings!

          • Jordie Rivers

            You need to work on your creativity, Trump troll.

  • Clint

    It was a false flag

  • Clint

    Mom of fake dead girl was Also mom at fake Sandy Hook Hoax.

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  • nuwandathegreat

    Cain was spot on! This is the best thing I’ve seen on ESPN in awhile!

  • Taylor Bixler

    Will Cain. ESPN’s token alt-right gimmick. That guy is a cucked moron.