‘There’s a Difference’ | Stephen A. Smith Reaffirms Donald Trump’s Once Tight Grip On Black Culture, Saying Trump ‘Changed’ After Being Elected

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith no longer speaks to former President Donald Trump but thinks it’s wrong for people to call Trump a racist.

This is where we are in 2023, the biggest personality on ESPN quasi-defending an abhorrent individual.

Smith was at the Semafor Media Summit in New York City on Monday and chatted with the media outlet’s co-founder Ben Smith onstage.

“I think he’s changed, but I will tell you this: I think when people call him racist and stuff like that, I’ve never thought of Trump that way,” said Smith. “He’s not against black people, he’s against all things not named Trump. There’s a difference.”

Smith Used To Talk To Trump Before He Ran For President

Smith said he used to talk to Trump before he ran for president in 2016. The former casino owner is a sports fan and used to host sporting events at his various sites. Makes sense that he and Smith would’ve met on any number of occasions.

“I knew Trump before he ran for the [2016] presidency. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to him. He was a huge sports fan. He used to throw a lot of events at…his casinos and stuff like that, and I genuinely liked them.”

Once Trump ran for president, that’s when Smith said he “changed.”

Whether or not the former president is a racist is a moot point. He has visible contempt for democracy (see: his entire presidency), incites his rabid supporters to violence (see: Jan. 6), and is a horrible person.

But what Smith is doing here makes sense for the bigger game he plays.

Stephen A. Smith Doing Money Dance

Smith is a capitalist. He earns a reported $12 million annually from ESPN on his five-year deal. He’s appeared on Fox News, MSNBC and other news channels. He’s hinted in the past at running for political office.

This Is All Part Of The Game Smith Plays

All of this is an opportunity for Smith to potentially earn more money in his next contract negotiations. He says Trump’s not a racist, the folks at Fox talk themselves into offering him a show.

“Just like women are underpaid compared to male counterparts, Blacks are underpaid compared to white counterparts,” Smith said on “First Take” last October. “I’m not talking about me, even though I got news for you, I am underpaid compared to some people on television and what they get paid. But that’s a subject for another day, I ain’t apologizing for that to a damn soul. I am underpaid.”

This is the game being played at the big corporate media level.

That Smith made these comments at the Semafor Media Summit, run by the outlet that is tied to the Chinese Communist Party and supports Saudi Arabian state media is not surprising.

The Top Talking Head

Smith long ago abandoned his journalistic ethos to become a talking head and make the most money possible. That is capitalism and has been the American way for centuries. Many people would and have done the same thing.

As sports fans and people who consume his content you can laugh, cry, yell and engage with what he does around sports because it’s mostly harmless. But when it comes to actual issues and concerns that shape our world, we cannot be seduced by people like Smith and others who see this all as some big game. A means to their own financial ends.

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