Nigerians have called out Stephen A. Smith for his xenophobic comment.
In the early hours of Sunday, July 11, 2021, Nigeria’s senior basketball team pulled off a shocking win over the United States of America, which had bonafide basketball stars like Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard of the NBA.
Although it was an exhibition game ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, it was a massive story in the respective countries for different reasons.
Nigerians woke up on that Sunday to that cheerful news that even got an acknowledgement from the President.
In the United States, it was the complete opposite, with sports pundits and enthusiasts up in arms about the team’s performance in that game.
Top sports pundit Stephen A. Smith drew the ire of Nigerians with his comments on his show on ESPN.
In his popular talk show ‘First Take’, Smith opined that the United States had no excuse to lose to Nigeria and went on to mispronounce a couple of D’Tigers‘ players’ names.
Smith shared the clip of his opinion on Twitter to draw the ire of Nigerians led by the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) and a handful of D’Tigers’ players.
“A one minute clip with no basketball analysis and pure disrespect to the names of our culture. Do better please @stephenasmith. This is low, even for you,” the federation responded on Twitter.
They added, “You can lament your loss without slandering the players who gave blood and sweat to grind out a win. Put some respect to their names.”
“You can critique the other team without disrespecting us. Put some respect on the flag and the mother land! Don’t forget where your ancestors came from,” D’Tigers player Josh Okoguie who played in the game, said on Twitter.
Precious Achiuwa, another D’Tigers player, also called Smith’ unprofessional’.
Big Brother Naija star Laycon called it ‘wrong and disrespectful’. D’Tigress star Chiney Ogwumike who also works for ESPN, also had stern words for Smith.
“As someone who has seen Mr. Smith’s daily grind, I have so much respect for my ESPN fam… But as a proud Nigerian-American, whose name gets mispronounced daily, we HAVE to do better,” the WNBA star said. “Our names have beautiful meaning & should be celebrated,” she added.
“Hello @stephenasmith, this is utterly disrespectful. No one has a right to display such level of insolence on national TV. You are a shame to your ancestors. You should do better,” Nigerian Twitter personality Omojuwa said.
The anger wasn’t just for Smith, former NFL star and now pundit Shannon Sharpe also got words from Nigerians after he shared a clip where he said his crew, including the cameraman would beat the Nigerian team.
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