There are many people ESPN hot take artist (and current overall leader in our hot take standings) Stephen A. Smith has feuded with over the years, and that list now includes two different mothers of Golden State Warriors’ players. Smith has had a long-standing habit of criticizing and threatening Kevin Durant, which led to Kevin’s mom Wanda firing back on a special episode of First Take last year. That brings us to his latest feud, which started when he went after Draymond Green’s mom Mary Babers-Green on Friday’s First Take, saying that her tweets criticizing Kevin Durant during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals Wednesday are going to be assumed to be coming from her son:
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) May 18, 2018
Smith is very careful here to be all “gotta ask the question,” saying that he’s not necessarily indicating that her tweets are instigated by her son but that others are going to think that:
“When a mom says something, whether it’s true or not, the belief is going to be that it came from a child. Which ultimately means that there are going to be people out there who believe that [it was] something that Draymond Green must have said to his mom. I don’t know. I wouldn’t even think to ask.”
But that’s ridiculous, and not a defense. By putting this out there, something that no one else appears to have actually done, Smith is at the least implying that it’s plausible Green is telling his mother to tweet things critical of Durant. And that’s quite the conspiracy theory, especially when it comes to a teammate; what possible benefit could there be to that for Green? It’s not like Durant’s going to change his play style because of something a teammate’s mother said on Twitter, and if Green actually had an issue with him, it would seem far more likely that he would engage with Durant directly or indirectly through the coaching staff, with both approaches seeming far more productive than a convoluted “Hey, Mom, bash Kevin for me” approach.
And Babers has long been a passionate and outspoken fan, even accusing referees of being paid off during last year’s Finals and going at Charles Barkley earlier this year. Why would you not just assume that she’s watching a game and tweeting her opinions about it the way anyone else would? Babers responded to this by accusing Smith of sexism, and she has a point: Smith very much has not said the same thing when it comes to fathers like LaVar Ball, giving them credit for their own opinions instead of suggesting they’re mouthpieces for their kids. She also said that for the record, she doesn’t have anything against Durant.
I been tweeting and talking about games. You are foolish if you think I’m against KD! We win as a Team an I stand by that! I am a FAN LIKE EVERYONE ELSE but if you are going to say what I said, ASK ME SO I CAN EXPLAIN TO YOU WHAT I MEANT!
— MBG (@BabersGreen) May 18, 2018
By the way @stephenasmith I watch games and I know something about basketball so your comment was WRONG & SEXIST! However, I don’t have a narrative written that I must go by so I say what I want! Dray don’t talk to me about basketball or his team-SORRY!
— MBG (@BabersGreen) May 18, 2018
Babers-Green is quite right: this was bizarre and sexist commentary from Smith, and he thoroughly deserves that callout. Couch it as much as he tries in “people are going to think this,” it’s pretty clear he’s the one thinking this. But maybe he’ll think a little more before doing something like this in the future.