Stephen A. Smith addresses Jontay Porter

Like sports fans everywhere, Stephen A. Smith quickly condemned Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter Wednesday for committing a “cardinal sin.”

Unlike other fans, Smith turned the news into an emotional statement in support of disgraced MLB legend Pete Rose.

The NBA issued a lifetime ban to Porter Wednesday after an investigation found he had committed gambling violations. Those alleged violations included giving confidential information to bettors, limiting his own availability to favor “under” bettors, and even betting against the Raptors to lose.

“The reality is, he deserved to be banned,” Smith said. “Everybody knows you can’t bet on your own sport … you damn sure shouldn’t be limiting your own (availability) and leaking confidential information to bettors. This is why one of the cardinal rules is not to bet on the sport … there’s no excuse for it.

“This is an egregious crime.”

Smith then took off in an unexpected direction, saying what Porter has been accused of bears little resemblance to the gambling scandal that tarnished Rose’s reputation. Rose, MLB’s all-time hits leader, received a lifetime ban from the sport in 1989 and has not been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“I’m a person who’s been on the record on numerous occasions in the past saying Pete Rose should be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Smith said before citing several reasons he feels that way. “No. 1, they never said he bet as a player. No. 2, they never proved he bet on his team to lose, which is what Jontay Porter was accused of.

“No. 3, my attitude is when he had that 44-game hitting streak, when he was absolutely positive box office, you sat up there and exploited him then. You never gave back the money; you never gave back the revenue …

“So if you don’t have any evidence whatsoever that this man compromised his performance or that of his team … then why try to act like this dude doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame?”


Smith went on to say Porter’s transgressions were far worse than the NBA scandal involving former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. The NBA forced Sterling to sell the team and banned him from the league for life after recordings surfaced of him using racial slurs.

“As egregious as Donald Sterling was,” Smith said, “as much as he deserved to be gone, as better off as the league is with him being gone, him simply asking a mistress, ‘Why do you have to be around Black people?’ — sounded like a plantation owner, by the way, I’ll concede that; but that’s not, in terms of his actions, in the same ballpark as what Jontay Porter purportedly has done.

“That’s automatic banishment, y’all. You can’t do what Jontay Porter is proclaimed to have done to the league. You can’t.”

[The Stephen A. Smith Show on YouTube]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.