ESPN host Stephen A. Smith apologized on Monday for his comments on Shohei Ohtani after receiving backlash for criticizing the Angels star’s use of an interpreter to speak to the media.
“Let me apologize right now,” Smith said in a tweet. âAs I watch things unfold, let me say that I never intended to offend ANY COMMUNITY, especially the Asian community and especially SHOHEI Ohtani, himself.
âAs an African American, deeply aware of the damage that stereotypes have done to many in this country, it should have elevated my sensitivity even more. In my words, I failed in this regard and it is. to me, and to me alone! “
Smith said Monday morning on “First Take” that having a foreign player like Ohtani from Japan because the face of the league is damaging the game.
“I don’t think it helps that face # 1 is a guy who needs an interpreter so you can understand what he’s saying, in this country, and that’s what I’m trying to say “said Smith.
Amid the backlash, Smith took to twitter to clarify his remarks.
âIf you are a sport that is trying to please the American public like Major League Baseball is, because of the issues you have had to face in terms of improving the attractiveness of the sport, it helps if you speak the English language, âSmith said.
“… But in America, all I was saying is that when you’re a superstar, if you can speak English, then guess what: it’s going to make promoting the sport a lot easier and less difficult. . “
Ohtani, 27, will be the AL’s starting pitcher in Tuesday’s all-star game and will also be the designated first hitter. He is the No. 1 seed in Monday night’s Home Run Derby.
The first-time All-Star beat 0.279 with 33 home runs leading the majors and a slugging percentage of 0.698, as well as 70 RBIs. He also has a 3.49 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 67 innings on the mound this season.