Stephen A. Smith apologizes to Rihanna

Stephen A. Smith is just two days into a nomadic media tour to promote his memoir Straight Shooter and he’s already issuing an apology.

Wednesday morning, Smith continued his book tour by appearing on Sherri Shepherd’s daytime daytime talk show and the First Take host was asked about Rihanna performing during next month’s Super Bowl.

“Ladies and gentlemen, she’s a lot of things. She’s spectacular, actually,” Smith said of Rihanna as he began to conjure up a hot take. “And congratulations on new momma-hood. There’s one thing she’s not: She ain’t Beyoncé.”

Tough week for Rihanna in the sports world. On Sunday, Kevin Burkhardt uttered the words “Rihanna can wait” during the GiantsVikings Wild Card game on Fox, and now just a few days later, she has Stephen A. Smith questioning her greatness?

The stunned crowd booed Smith for saying something so preposterous, but he defended his take to Shepherd and reminded her audience that there are “levels” of greatness. Smith held strong, at least until he got into the back of a Sprinter van to be ushered off to his next media hit and saw there was backlash over his assessment of Rihanna. And after seeing headlines that accurately read, “Stephen A. Smith says Rihanna ain’t Beyoncé,” Smith knew, fair or not, that he had to apologize.

“I just got out of First Take and I saw some headline that’s circulating all over the place about my quote that Rihanna ain’t Beyoncé,” Smith said in a three-minute apology video posted on Twitter. “I’m gonna own it. I know what y’all are trying to do, but I’m gonna own it because I get paid to speak for a living so I need to be more careful. I want Rihanna to know you’re a superstar, you’re sensational, you’re no joke.”

I’m not sure if Rihanna really needs the satisfaction of knowing Stephen A. Smith is accepting of her performing at the Super Bowl, but regardless, she now has it. Now that Smith apologized for saying Rihanna ain’t Beyoncé from the back of a Sprinter van, I can’t wait to see when and where he decides to issue an apology for saying LeBron James can’t match Michael Jordan.

Beyoncé has already performed at two Super Bowls during her career, and whether Smith likes it or not, it will be Rihanna’s turn to tantalize the country on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona.

[Stephen A. Smith]

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