"I didn't want to go nuclear" - Stephen A. Smith responds to Monica McNutt accusing him of not promoting WNBA

Credit: Instagram/stephenasmith Instagram/mcnuttmonica
Credit: Instagram/stephenasmith Instagram/mcnuttmonica

Stephen A. Smith starred in a heated debate with fellow analyst Monica McNutt earlier Monday, getting called out by her colleague for not acknowledging the WNBA before Caitlin Clark arrived.

McNutt, a former women's basketball player for Georgetown, told Smith that he could have used his platform years ago to give more attention to the W, which left him shocked on ESPN's "First Take." He later used his show to respond to McNutt, saying he didn't pay much attention to the WNBA before because the league needed to bring something different to the table to attract fans and analysts.

"I'm not throwing any shade on her," Smith said. (Timestamp: 30:36.) "I'm speaking out because she put out a falsehood about me live on national television, on 'First Take,' and I'm going to clear that record.
"That is not true. Could I have done more? Well, if you're a sports show and a sports news show, you gotta talk about what's percolating, you gotta talk about what's resonating. You've got to pay attention to what the masses are paying attention to, and the fact of the matter is they weren't paying any attention to the WNBA. So, there's only much I could do until the WNBA did something for itself."

He also talked about why he didn't respond to McNutt right after her comments.

"The resentment, to some degree, is real," Smith said. "I'm not backtracking from that. Here's another headline: 'Stephen A. Smith left speechless after WNBA opinion backlash on First Take.' I'm speechless because I didn't want to go nuclear on a wonderful wonderful woman like Monica McNutt, who I think was false and put out a false narrative. That's why."


Stephen A. Smith apologizes to Kyrie Irving

Before he responded to Monica McNutt, Stephen A. Smith showed a different tone and attitude when talking about Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving. The veteran analyst apologized to Irving after several years of criticism of the 2016 NBA champion.

"I can count on two fingers how many times he's thought I was wrong, and so his friendship (Kenny Smith's), his brotherhood, means a lot to me," Smith said. "But it also reminded me of the brotherhood of all of those that mentored me and have been there for Kyrie."

Being the famous and polarizing person he is, Stephen A. Smith often says things that don't sit well with fans, fellow analysts or even players. Whatever the case, he appears to be ready to correct himself or clap back when he thinks people are wrong.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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