ESPN's Stephen A. Smith opened "First Take" on Tuesday morning by apologizing for his comments on Angels star Shohei Ohtani.
“Let me be the first to stand up and say that I want to express my sincere apologies to the Asian community and the Asian American community. I am a Black man. I religiously go off about minorities being marginalized in this nation," he said as he addressed his Monday comments on the Japanese-born MLB sensation, who does not speak much English.
“The reason that I bring up my Blackness is because of this: On many occasions, what I have said when people have said something that is offensive in any way to the minority community, [is] it’s not about how you feel. It is about how they feel," he went on before admitting that "you have Asians and Asian Americans out there that obviously were very, very offended by what I had to say yesterday."
On Monday's "First Take," Smith went off on the 27-year-old two-way player's rise to fame in America, questioning how he can be the face of the MLB when he doesn't give his interviews in English.
“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," Smith said. Later in the day, he doubled down on Twitter, writing, "Amazing that folks still don’t know me after all these years. If I am wrong about something, I will apologize. Especially if I unintentionally offend ANY GROUP of people — because it’s the right thing to do. Period! I’m BLACK. I would know!"
By Monday afternoon, he had issued an apology on Twitter.
His apology came just hours before the MLB's Home Run Derby, in which Ohtani participated. Though he was expected to win, he got out in the first round, but not before tying Juan Soto twice and pushing the contest into a three-swing tie-breaker.