Stephen A. Smith

After being condemned by some in the Black community for refusing to judge Jerry Jones off a 65-year-old photo, Stephen A. Smith took to his podcast to fire back against his critics.

During Tuesday morning’s First Take, Smith teased his Wednesday podcast episode of Know Mercy for Audacy’s Cadence13, noting he wants to address the “folks in our community talking smack.”

“It’s Black on Black,” Smith added. “I don’t even know if white folks need to be listening with the stuff that I’m gonna say about some of us.”

Last week, The Washington Post shared a photo of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones among a group of young white men preventing Black students from integrating an Arkansas high school in 1957. Smith defended Jones, noting he’s fond of the Cowboys owner and claimed judging him off a 65-year-old photo was an example of “cancel culture.” According to the First Take host, his opinion of Jones and the disturbing photo caused him to receive unjust criticism.

“One can only be called a sellout and a c**n and all of this other stuff but so much before you feel compelled to respond,” Smith said at the start of his podcast. “Particularly when you’re a Black man.”

Smith did not call out anyone specifically on his podcast. But earlier this week, it was reported that ESPN play-by-play voice Mark Jones liked a tweet from Bishop Talbert Swan, who used a video of dancing raccoons to describe Smith’s defense of the Cowboys owner. According to Outkick, who shared a screenshot of the liked tweet, Jones unliked the video after their request for comment.

“Y’all wanna attack everybody! Why don’t we listen to one another?” Smith asked on his podcast. “I’m not friends with Candace Owens, I never met her a day in my life. But if you disagree with something she said, tell us what it is and why rather than saying ‘She a sellout!’ That’s easy, why? Let’s educate ourselves. Why would you think that? Why? Argue her facts.”

“You want to criticize me and what my positions are, I’m good with that. Y’all tell me why. If you’re right, I’ll say so,” Smith continued. “You know how hard it is for me to listen to people that have worked in this industry for years with the stuff I know about them, listening to them and their drivel talking nonsense about me? They ain’t do a damn thing to help our community! I put my career on the line everyday fighting for us. And we’re gonna go out like that? Because I don’t agree with y’all position on a still photo from 66 years ago. Really? We better wake up y’all.”

After defending Jones, Smith said he was asked by someone notable to explain what the Cowboys owner has done to stem the tide of racism and exclusion

“Is that his obligation?” Smith responded. “He owns a football team. He employs a multitude of people…You know how many folks are employed by the Dallas Cowboys organization who happens to be minority? What exactly is he supposed to do…what’s his obligation?”

If that’s Smith’s opinion of all NFL owners, fine. But it’s inconsistent and a jarring contrast from when he repeatedly advocated for more Black head coaches and executives to get opportunities in the NFL and NBA. And every time Smith argues for the NFL to fix their deplorable diversity issue among head coaches, he’s now left the door open for “Is that their obligation” to be used as an argument.

[Know Mercy]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to