ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith apologized to the Asian community Monday after he criticized Major League Baseball’s leading home run hitter for speaking through the use of an interpreter.
“Let me apologize right now. As I’m watching things unfold, let me say that I never intended to offend ANY COMMUNITY, particularly the Asian Community — and especially SHOHEI Ohtani, himself,” read the statement.
Smith had criticized Ohtani, who plays for the Los Angeles Angels and leads the majors with 33 home runs, for not speaking English and choosing his native Japanese instead.
“The fact that you got a foreign player that doesn’t speak English, believe it or not, I think contributes to harming the game to some degree, when that’s your box office appeal,” Smith said Monday during his show “First Take.”
“It needs to be somebody like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, those guys. And unfortunately at this point in time, that’s not the case,” he added.
“When you talk about an audience gravitating to the tube, or to the ballpark, to actually watch you, I don’t think it helps that the No. 1 face is a dude that needs an interpreter so you can understand what the hell he’s saying, in this country,” Smith c… (Read more)