Following the Boston Celtics press conference on Ime Udoka, Stephen A. Smith said he didn’t think he could get more furious. And then Malika Andrews called into First Take.
Since the news surrounding Udoka’s season-long suspension from the Celtics broke, Smith’s analysis has been unique, to say the least. He’s repeatedly attempted to blame the organization for allowing the punishment to become a mainstream media story. On Friday, Smith also questioned why Udoka is the only person serving a suspension, which has been reported as stemming from the head coach having a consensual intimate relationship with a female member of team staff.
“Only he is in violation of the company policy? The woman who elected to have a consensual relationship with him is not in violation?” Smith asked, seeming to imply the woman should be named.
In the final minutes of Friday morning’s First Take, Andrews called in and immediately told Smith to change his narrative.
“Stephen A., with all do respect, this is not about pointing the finger. Stop,” Andrews boldly stated. “The fact that we are sitting here debating whether somebody else should have been suspended or not, we ARE NOT here, Stephen A., to further blame women.”
Stephen A Smith just went in on Malika Andrews ?????? pic.twitter.com/2JCBdo9wGr
— Shannonnn sharpes burner (@shannonsharpeee) September 23, 2022
“First of all, let me be very clear,” Smith responded, clearly annoyed with Andrews’ assessment of his commentary. “I don’t appreciate where you’re going with that, I’m not blaming anybody but Ime Udoka. The fact of the matter is, he deserves to be fired if they were going to fire him. If you’re not going to fire him, then don’t fire him. My issue is all of this being publicized.”
Smith has been steadfast in his belief that the cause for Udoka’s suspension is none of our business. Udoka’s romantic life is none of our business. A season-long suspension, however, is our business. Does Smith really believe that if the Celtics kept the suspension quiet, no one would question where the head coach was on the first day of training camp? Andrews rightfully called Smith out on his bizarre analysis, but the First Take host didn’t appreciate being interrupted.
“Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you,” Smith interjected to quickly shut Andrews down. “You’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”
Smith’s response to Andrews reeked of arrogance. It does not matter whose show they’re on, bad takes and bad analysis should always be called out. Considering the minimal information that has been released about this story, Smith questioning whether the woman should be outed was a dangerous take. And the host, Stephen A. Smith in this case, is not exempt from having his opinions challenged simply because it’s his show.
It should be noted, that after Smith proceeded to explain he blames Udoka first and foremost, despite his previous analysis suggesting otherwise, Andrews thanked the First Take host for clarifying.
UPDATE: The above Twitter video was added because ESPN made their YouTube video of the exchange between Smith and Andrews private after this article was published.