“Nah, That’s Not Cool” | Stephen A. Smith Wants To Know Why Alma Mater Winston-Salem State Handcuffed Escorted Woman Student

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 20: ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith looks on prior to the game between the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on December 20, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Stephen A. Smith, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, spoke out about the female student who was escorted out of a WSSU classroom in handcuffs. The host of “First Take” wanted to let his school and the world know that the action was “not cool,” and it sounds like he is looking to get to the bottom of the incident.

“I’m a proud graduate of Winston-Salem State University,” Smith said on Friday’s “First Take” episode. “Something happened the other day; a young lady, a young African American, Black lovely young lady, got escorted out of her classroom. I personally spoke to Chancellor Robinson of Winston-Salem State University to find out what has happened. I’m not going to sit up there and publicize that, but she got into an argument with a teacher.

“All I’m going to say to Winston-Salem State and any institution in America is this: if kids are being a bit belligerent, they’re speaking out too loudly, etc., having somebody escorted out of the classroom is perfectly within bounds. Having them escorted from the classroom in handcuffs by two police officers when no crime was committed is excessive.”

Unnecessary Roughness

Posted on TikTok, the video of the incident shows a classroom shocked as WSSU student Leilla Hamud is held over a desk by two police officers who then place her in handcuffs while she protests for them to stop. During the altercation, you can hear the student and teacher arguing while the watching students record the whole thing on their cell phones.

The incident broke during the same week that Winston-Salem native and active NBA veteran Chris Paul crossed the stage to receive his diploma in Communications from the school. With all the positive news around his education completion, it was disheartening for many in juxtaposition to the young woman’s ordeal in which the video went viral.

“Now I’m not going to go any further than that because, again, I wasn’t there, but everybody knows I’m a graduate of Winston-Salem State University,” Smith continued. “Everybody knows I’m proud of that, and I big up Winston-Salem State University at every turn. That was not our, meaning me too; that was not our shining moment.

“If nothing physical transpired and you’re just talking about a conversation, a verbal sparring, as inappropriate as that may have been, and we don’t want to encourage kids to be disrespectful to professors or anything like that, there is no excuse for a kid, a student to be escorted out of a classroom in handcuffs like she is a criminal.”

Proud WSSU Grad

For Smith, the face of ESPN and needle mover of sports takes, the altercation is embarrassing and he doesn’t blame the police officers but deemed what he saw on video “excessive.”

“You can go on YouTube, and you can see an abundance of classmates literally in a classroom saying this was excessive, this is unnecessary, this was wrong. I wasn’t there. I don’t know all the details. I have the chancellor’s and other people’s positions, but I didn’t speak to the young lady, and I will try to do that. But what I want to say is, the classroom, you’re escorting her out of the classroom in handcuffs?

“Nah, that’s not cool and on this particular day, I’m not proud of my university letting that happen. I’m not talking to the police officers, once the police officers are called they’ve got to do their job. You could have escorted her out of the classroom, she did not have to be in handcuffs and to have that happen I’m looking at my university today, and I’m not happy about that and I just wanted to make sure I said that.”

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.