A First Take segment about Lamar Jackson’s controversial deleted tweet caused Stephen A. Smith to issue an apology Monday morning.
Sunday night, Jackson tweeted a vulgar response to a fan who suggested the Baltimore Ravens should let their quarterback walk in free agency rather than pay the $250 million guaranteed he’s reportedly seeking.
“Boy STFU y’all be cappin too much on this app,” Jackson wrote in a since deleted tweet. “mf never smelt a football field never did s— but eat d–k‼️” (edited for profanity).
Monday morning, First Take dedicated a segment to Jackson’s Sunday performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars and his deleted tweet, which some have interpreted as containing an anti-gay phrase. Upon briefly discussing whether the tweet was discriminatory toward the gay community, Smith used the term “homosexual,” which he apologized for later in the show.
“I just wanted to address, at the start of the show when we were talking about Lamar Jackson, I should have uttered the word gay,” Smith said during the final segment of First Take. “The LGBTQ community prefers that over other words because obviously other words are believed to be derogatory in their eyes. So as a result of that, my apologies. I should have used the word gay.”
Below are Smith’s initial comments from First Take that he apologized for:
“I’m not a homosexual so I’m not going to define what’s offensive to them or not, I’ll let them do that,” Smith said in the first hour of First Take. “It looked to me like he was cussing the dude out…that’s how I read that, cussing somebody out as opposed to going where folks might go with that. But again, I’m, not a homosexual, so the homosexual community, the gay community gets to define that better than me.”
Smith’s apology came about an hour and a half after his opening comments regarding Jackson’s tweet. “I appreciate the education,” he added after learning he should have said “gay.”
The term “homosexual” has been deemed offensive, in part, because it inherently stigmatizes the gay community by focusing on sexual acts.