ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith apologized on Monday hours after the comments he made regarding Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani.
On Monday, ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith trended for a comment he made on his show First Take. The topic brought up was whether Los Angeles Angels two-way player and AL MVP-frontrunner Shohei Ohtani being the face of baseball was good or bad for the sport, to which Smith responded by saying it is not good that he needs to speak to the media through an interpreter.
After saying his comments were misinterpreted in a video he tweeted out to his 5.4 million Twitter followers this evening, Smith sent out a statement shortly afterwards to apologize to Ohtani and the Asian community.
Stephen A. Smith apologizes for Shohei Ohtani comments
This apology comes hours after his segment on the hot take factory that is First Take, where plenty of Twitter users admonished Smith for making such comments.
Ohtani has been the star of MLB in the first half of this season. Ever since signing with the Angels, he was dubbed as the potential second coming of Babe Ruth due to his ability to pitch on the mound and mash homers in the batter’s box. In 2021, he has lived up to the hype and then some.
Through 84 games this season, Ohtani is slashing .279/.364/.698 while recording a major league-leading 33 home runs, 70 RBI, 65 runs scored and 84 hits. As a pitcher, Ohtani posted a 3.49 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 87 strikeouts and 35 walks through 13 starts (67.0 innings of work).
As a result of these numbers, Ohtani is the face of MLB All-Star Week. He is set to participate in the Home Run Derby on Monday night. On Tuesday, Ohtani was announced as the starting pitcher for the American League team and will bat leadoff.
After catching heat for his distasteful comments, Smith has now sent out an apology to anyone he offended.