ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith went after Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams on his Sirius XM radio show Friday for criticizing coverage of the team.
Last week, Carter-Williams wrote a piece for Derek Jeter’s website The Players’ Tribune, saying his 0-9 team wasn’t deliberately tanking another season just to get a high draft pick.
In his criticism of the media’s coverage of the team, Carter-Williams singled out the host of ESPN’s First Take as “playing a character.”
Here is an excerpt from the piece:
“The media creates this narrative and repeats it over and over. That’s how Stephen A. Smith ends up in our locker room with a big smile on his face. I’m not picking on him. I know he’s playing a character. He knows he’s playing a character. But what happens when we break the streak by going out and beating Detroit that night? Now it’s another story. After the game, a lot of the reporters didn’t even stick around. The ones that did weren’t prepared. They didn’t ask us about the specifics of the game. They made up questions on the spot, like, “Uh, hey, you guys won … so how do you feel?” We weren’t the story anymore. They were on to the next thing. Stephen A. didn’t really stick around. I guess he had a plane to catch. Believe me, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure he doesn’t come back for the same reason.”
Smith, who spent years covering the 76ers before joining ESPN, went on a rant against the second-year guard, threatening the 23-year-old with his vast connections and apparent high standing at the network.
“You’ve never going to have the last word over us,” Smith said Friday during a Sirius Radio interview, according to The Big Lead. “And you damn sure ain’t going to have the last word over me. I’m not going to start problems, but I can damn sure finish them. If these guys want to come at me, let them do it at their own peril. It will be a mistake.”
Listen to Stephen A.’s rant below:
Monday after the Sixers’ shootaround, Carter-Williams said he was not paying attention to the backlash from Smith or anyone else.
“I am just really focused on my teammates and trying to get a win,” he said. “That is where my focus needs to be; my teammates deserve that, and my coaches deserve that. I am just going to keep pushing every day in practice with the guys. That outside distraction stuff doesn’t mean much to me.”
When specifically asked if had seen or heard Smith’s comments, Carter-Williams said, “I came across it because people told me about them. I have seen things on Twitter, but again, none of that fazes me too much.”
The reason Carter-Williams wrote the article in the first place was to express himself in a way he doesn’t feel he can when he answers questions from the media.
“I just felt I had something that I needed to say,” Carter-Williams said. “I can’t really say it too much in the media. It is hard for me to form my words when I don’t have the time to think about it and really express myself.”