The 51-year-old sports journalist is one of the most recognizable names on American television. Stephen A. Smith's provocative takes on his wildly popular program "First Take" got himself one of the biggest paychecks in the ESPN network.
Talking to Larry Wilmore in the latest episode of the "Black on the Air" podcast, Stephen A. Smith courted controversy when he offered a questionable opinion regarding women competing in the combat sports world.
The subject introduced by Wilmore concerned women occupying managerial positions usually held by men. The host gave two recent examples before asking for Stephen A. Smith's opinion. Even though the TV personality supported the idea, he also gave an unrequested take on women in combat sports.
"First of all, I love it. I think that there's an awful lot of women that are incredibly qualified to do the jobs that they're doing," said Stephen A. Smith. "Where I jump off the bandwagon is when they try to engage physically. For example, I don't ever want to see a woman boxing a man. I don't want to see that. I don't want to see a woman in the UFC fighting a man even though there are some women out there that'll kick a dude's butt. We get all that. When I think about pugilistic sports, I don't like seeing women involved in that at all. I just don't like it. I wouldn't promote legislating laws to prohibit them from doing so, but I don't want to see women punching each other in the face. I don't want to see women fighting in the octagon and stuff like that, but that's just me. What I would adamantly be against is them fighting men. I don't think that's cool. Plus, you don't ever want to give men license to believe that it's all right to be physical with a woman, to be quite honest with you. You don't want to do that."
Stephen A. Smith approves women occupying managerial positions
Despite the unfortunate commentary regarding women in pugilistic sports, Stephen A. Smith continued his answer by emphasizing how much he approves of the presence of women acting as leaders, even outside of sports.
"And so, outside of that, when you think about them in executive positions, first of all, they're smarter than [men] a lot of times, they're more composed than us a lot of times, they're incredibly knowledgeable about these respective sports. They've had to go through trials and tribulations one couldn't even imagine most of the time. For them to get to that point, they deserve the opportunity to showcase their skill sets. Just like we have women in corporate America doing an incredible job leading companies, being executives, pushing businesses forward, etc., etc. There's no reason on earth why they can't do the same in the sports world. I support it, I'm a fan of it, and I hope we see more of it."
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