Former NBA player Etan Thomas is well-known for his intellectual hot takes rooted in Black excellence. In his latest episode, he traversed into the land of criticizing Stephen A. Smith. Thomas welcomed two NBA media stalwarts and long-time veterans, David Aldridge and Marc J. Spears, to discuss “new media” vs. “old media.”
However, during the discussion of the evolution of sports media, player-led content, and how that impacts the traditional coverage of athletes and sports, Thomas had a take on the power of Stephen A. Smith.
“Stephen A. Smith has the same power over the minds of the masses (in the sports world) that Tucker Carlson has over the right,” said Thomas. “That’s why they both should be held accountable for talking reckless.”
During the “new media” campaign spearheaded by Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green, there was almost a virtual faceoff between Smith and Green via the “First Take” platform and “The Draymond Green Show,” which Green would tape after every game.
Although Green was more focused on shutting down constant “First Take” contributor and resident agitator Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Smith took up the mantle of defending the methodology of the old guard. It is no wonder that a member of the traditional media, Marc J. Spears, wanted to distance himself from Thomas’ take.
Respectfully Marc you missed the entire point of the analogy. I explained during our debate (which I thought was a great exchange of opposing ideas) I wasn’t comparing the ppl or their content but the level of power over their audiences & yes with power comes great responsibility https://t.co/VCd49CydgA
— Etan Thomas (@etanthomas36) July 7, 2022
“I respectfully regret doing this podcast,” Spears posted on Twitter. “It was very disappointing that the sports takes from @stephenasmith would be compared to someone who spews racism & mistruths. @stephenasmith is a legendary sports journalist whose job is to tell it like it is from his view. Not spew hate.”
Thomas retweeted when Spears fired at him and defended his own because he is also the “new media.”
I made this point during my debate with David Aldridge and Marc Spears on #TheRematch
There’s a reason Malcolm X said
“The media's the most powerful entity on earth because they control the minds of the masses.”https://t.co/GjCoxqlmIa pic.twitter.com/rtb3OMYRB2
— Etan Thomas (@etanthomas36) July 6, 2022
“I made this point during my debate with David Aldridge and Marc Spears on #TheRematch,” Thomas posted. “There’s a reason Malcolm X said ‘The media’s the most powerful entity on earth because they control the minds of the masses.'”
Smith caught the ire of many during the height of the Colin Kaepernick kneeling situation. Smith derided the move as pointless with no quantifiable results as it progressed, and it was more apparent that another team would not pick Kaep up.
Additionally, Smith’s excoriation of Kyrie Irving during his pause from the Brooklyn Nets as an unvaccinated player during the New York City indoor vaccine mandate resulted in a barrage on his character and work ethic. Smith’s words hung over Irving’s reputation as the Nets began to fall apart with James Harden leaving, and eventually, the team was swept in the first round of the playoffs.
I appreciate your well wishes and I too believe that regardless of what you say that you’re a good brother as well. If anything my analogy speaks to the heights you have achieved to be in the position to have the level of power you do. But with power comes great responsibility https://t.co/bjtoVN98wO
— Etan Thomas (@etanthomas36) July 7, 2022
Eventually, the two went back and forth over Twitter, and many have viewed Smith’s attacks on Irving’s character as personal.
Thomas was not one to back down from his points and made sure Marc J. Spears and the world knew it.
“Respectfully, Marc, you missed the entire point of the analaogy. I explained during our debate (which I thought was a great exchange of opposing ideas) I wasn’t comparing the ppl or their content but the level of power over their audiences & yes with power comes great responsibility.”
As the “new media” vs. “old media” debate roils on and the loudest voices in the room shape the narrative, Twitter fingers will draw blood.