The dominant story of last week in the world of sports was the class action lawsuit filed by Brian Flores against the NFL alleging discriminatory hiring practices by the league, citing texts Flores received from Bill Belichick prior to interviewing with the Giants that congratulated the wrong Brian on the job. It was the closest thing to confirmation of something that has been assumed by many for years, which is that teams often hold interviews with Black candidates simply to fill the Rooney Rule requirement when a decision has already been made.
That it was the New York Giants, one of the NFL teams to never have a Black coach, that was the lead example (with the Broncos as another in the Flores suit) made for even worse optics for the team. The day after the lawsuit was filed, Stephen A. Smith ripped the Giants organization (his claim that they were the only team to never have a Black coach isn’t correct as others likewise have not).
— First Take (@FirstTake) February 2, 2022
“There’s no one more incriminating than the New York Giants when it comes to Black coaches,” Smith said. “We are in the year 2022. All of these years, damn near a century for crying out loud, there is one single franchise that has not had a Black coach: That is the New York Giants.”
Over on WFAN, former Giants running back Tiki Barber responded to Smith, calling him out for not knowing anyone in the organization, and defending Giants ownership (via Sportscasting).
“I can’t sit here, with conviction, like Stephen A. — who doesn’t know anybody in the Giants’ organization — and claim that they’re a racist organization,” Barber said. “I would never do that. The only reason I would do that is because I’m trying to make a point, and my point is that Brian Flores is trying to make a point.”
Unsurprisingly, those comments eventually made their way back to Smith who took the close of Monday’s show to come after Barber, saying he didn’t know who Smith knew and also insinuating that he knew some incriminating things about Barber but wouldn’t say them on TV because he has “the decency not to.”
Stephen A threatening Tiki Barber 😂 pic.twitter.com/qlTKastDmu
— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) February 7, 2022
This is a tried and true Stephen A. tactic, as he once used this on Kevin Durant of all people, but the way he delivers the vague threat really makes it work. He is a showman above all else and no one else in the sports media comes close to him in that area, although I do hope Tiki keeps pressing his buttons because maybe we can find out what it is Stephen A. claims to know about him.