Stephen A. Smith Defends Megyn Kelly For Questioning The “Black National Anthem” Performance Ahead Of Super Bowl

Stephen A Smith
The Stephen A Smith Show

When you tuned into the Super Bowl this year, you likely noticed that there were two national anthems that were performed.

Reba McEntire rocked Allegiant Stadium with her rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” but not before Andra Day gave an emotional performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is widely referred to as the “Black National Anthem.”

The song plays a critical role in African American history, and was most famously utilized during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” acted as a rallying cry for those fighting to abolish racial segregation and discrimination in the United States.

As beautiful as the song as, and the performance that Day gave before the “Big Game,” it still didn’t keep some people from criticizing its inclusion. Former FOX News host Megyn Kelly sent out this post during the Super Bowl, saying:

“The so-called Black National Anthem does not belong at the Super Bowl. We already have a National Anthem and it includes EVERYONE.”

As you might imagine, Kelly’s statement on the Black National Anthem got both sides of the aisle going, and created a discourse on social media that was more accusatory than conversational.

Many were quick to call Megyn Kelly a racist for suggesting that the Black National Anthem wasn’t necessary, since the “Star Spangled Banner,” as she stated, “includes everyone.” All in all, it created a rather divisive atmosphere around the song, and sports personality Stephen A. Smith came in to try and sort things out the day after.

Smith played both sides as he voiced his thoughts on the matter, condemning and condoning Kelly’s statement as he worked through the intricate web that was created by her post on social media. But one place Stephen A. did plant his flag in the ground was saying the claims of Megyn Kelly being “racist” were not warranted:

“I’m sick and tired of folks out there, particularly in the black community, being so quick to throw out the word ‘racism.’ When you throw out the word ‘racism,’ do me a favor: have more evidence before you do it so it can’t be dismissed via plausible deniability or something else.

I don’t know Megyn Kelly at all, okay? I don’t find her statement to be racist. I find it to be, in her eyes, patriotic. I find it to be, in her eyes, self-righteous. I find her to be a bit detached from reality being faced by black Americans everywhere.

I got that part, but I can’t go in the way that I wanted to go in about her when people are out there, from my community, just throwing out the word ‘racist.’ You don’t know that about her. And when you say something like that, you dilute the potency and the importance of the argument.”

Stephen A. Smith basically said that her commentary was definitely insensitive, but it certainly wasn’t a display of blatant racism. The popular ESPN host also campaigned for people in his community, as well as everyone else, to stop throwing around the word “racist” so much, since it doesn’t do much to help in conversations surrounding race.

And I like I said earlier, as much as Smith was defending Megyn Kelly and her comment, he also took some time to call her out:

“Megyn Kelly, if you’re watching, you’re listening. I don’t like what you said at all. I think it comes across as highly insensitive. You cannot take into account history. You cannot acknowledge, because you are a historian. I’ve heard you…”

If anything was taken away from Smith’s thoughts, it’s that it can be very valuable to explore all sides and perspectives of the matter at hand. Stephen A. undoubtedly did that here, and in a way, it makes me very sad that a man known for his debate television persona can “unpack” issues better than most modern day politicians.

You can view Stephen A. Smith’s entire monologue about the Black National Anthem controversy in the video below:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock