Stephen A. Smith facing backlash over controversial Josh Gordon take
Stephen A. Smith is facing heavy criticism over a questionable take on the Josh Gordon situation, and even one of his former ESPN colleagues has called out the outspoken sports media personality.
Smith made what many people have argued were insensitive and ignorant comments Thursday night about Gordon’s ongoing and longtime battles with addiction.
This is a HORRIBLE take from Stephen A Smith on mental illness and addiction. I’m absolutely appalled this aired on television. pic.twitter.com/W7tYQca2OA— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) December 21, 2018
“I don’t want to come across as harsh or unsympathetic to Josh Gordon,” Smith said in part, as transcribed by the New York Post. “But let’s be very, very clear here. You’ve got a whole bunch of people out there talking about ‘It’s a disease, it’s a disease’ because it’s an addiction.
“Well, I’m not going to debunk or eliminate the notion that it’s a disease, but how did it become one? Because you can’t get addicted to something you never try. This isn’t cancer. This isn’t Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or something like that. This is self-inflicted.”
Longtime ESPN reporter Darren Rovell, who left the company earlier this year to take a job with Action Network, called out Smith on Twitter, citing the “damage done” by his former colleague’s Gordon comments.
A fan of Stephen A the broadcaster and the man. But the damage done here to the conversation about mental health is immense. Apology not needed. Best thing he can do is educate himself first. Then use his platform to educate others. https://t.co/hTMuRrH4mo— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 21, 2018
The news had come through earlier in the day that the Patriots wide receiver had been returned to the Reserve/Commissioner Suspended list indefinitely, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Now official:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 20, 2018
Effective today, Josh Gordon has been returned to the Reserve/Commissioner Suspended list indefinitely for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement under the Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
Gordon’s designation was preceded by him issuing a statement early Thursday morning announcing he was taking leave from the Patriots to deal with mental health issues.
There appears to be no evidence yet that Smith has responded to the backlash to his thoughts on Gordon.