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ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Apologizes for Mocking Anthony Davis

  • Lakers star suffered head injury in Game 5 against the Warriors.
  • Davis is expected to play in Thursday's Game 6, barring any setbacks.
Stephen A. Smith apologizes.
Syndication: Canton Repository

Give credit to Stephen A. Smith for reading the room – and wisely launching immediate damage control.

After getting crushed on social media for mocking Anthony Davis’ injury, the star of ESPN’s “First Take” apologized on Twitter Thursday.

“Blow back is Blow back. Comes with the territory, peeps,” tweeted ESPN’s biggest star. “I was in no way minimizing the seriousness of a concussion. I was questioning whether Anthony Davis really had one, considering the play I saw & other hits I’ve seen him absorb. But, bottom line, it was wrong for me to do. Period! My bad.”

Smith previously had a big laugh on “First Take” about whether the Los Angeles Lakers star actually suffered a concussion after absorbing a blow to the temple from Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney during Game 5 of their NBA Playoff series on Wednesday night. 

“Concussion? I thought the NFL season was over,” cracked Smith. 

The ESPN star also asked if the Lakers big man “really” needed a wheelchair. He predicted TNT’s “Inside the NBA” analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal would yuk it up too.

While Smith went off on a rant, his ESPN colleagues Molly Qerim and Brian Windhorst looked on uneasily.

“Let me be the adult in the room. Concussions are very serious,” said Qerim. 

Added Windhorst: “I’ve seen concussions with less.”

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Smith’s comments went over like a lead balloon on social media. Head injuries in sports should always be taken seriously, countered critics. Especially given the research on their potentially life-altering effects.

“It’s wild that this is the conversation on a national talk show in 2023 the day after a player looks like they may have been knocked out of a playoff game due to a concussion,” tweeted former ESPNer Arash Markazi.

Chris Nowinski, the former WWE wrestler turned founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, tweeted Smith should be “ashamed” of his commentary.

“This kind of 2005 talk sends a terrible message to young athletes. You know better,” he tweeted. “It doesn’t have to look catastrophic to cause (a concussion). And asking 6’10” guys who are dizzy and can’t see straight to walk to the locker room is bad medical care.”

To be fair to Smith, Barkley, and O’Neal also howled with laughter on “Inside the NBA.”

Barkley even mimed pushing a wheelchair while O’Neal guffawed.

“Man, guys, c’mon now,” said host Ernie Johnson Jr.

TNT’s NBA reporter Chris Haynes tweeted that Davis avoided a concussion – and should be ready for Game 6.

The NBA and Warner Bros. Discovery Sports could not be reached for comment.

Did we mention both ESPN and TNT will have to defend their long-standing media rights deals with the NBA in the coming months? Just saying.

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