ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Apologizes for Criticizing LA Angels Player Shohei Ohtani’s Use of Translator

Shohei Ohtani uses an English translator when speaking to the media (Credit: REUTERS)

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith apologized Tuesday after receiving backlash for his remarks about Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani’s use of an interpreter.

“I want to express my sincere apologies to the Asian community and the Asian American community,” Smith said in his opening remarks on ESPN’s morning talk show “First Take.” “I am a Black man. I religiously go off about minorities being marginalized in this nation.”

Smith’s monologue came after the ESPN commentator offered an apology late Monday, saying: “As an African-American, keenly aware of the damage stereotyping has done to many in this country, it should’ve elevated my sensitivities even more.”

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“I screwed up,” he added. “In this day and age, with all the violence being perpetrated against the Asian Community, my comments — albeit unintentional — were clearly insensitive and regrettable.”

“I’m sincerely sorry for any angst I’ve caused with my comments.”

In a segment on ESPN’s morning talk show “First Take,” Smith said Monday that Ohtani, a Japanese-born Major League Baseball sensation who has drawn comparisons to Babe Ruth, couldn’t be the face of the sport because he uses an interpreter.

“I understand that baseball is an international sport itself in terms of participation, but when you talk about an audience gravitating to the tube or to the ballpark, to actually watch you, I don’t think it helps that the number one face is a dude that needs an interpreter, so you can understand what the hell he’s saying in this country,” he said on the show.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Wilson Wong

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