Actor and comedian Jamie Foxx has come to the defense of NBA star Ben Simmons after sports analyst and commentator Stephen A. Smith criticized the athlete during a rant on ESPN’s First Take show.
During a segment on the show on Monday (April 25), Smith addressed Simmons’ inability to suit up for the Brooklyn Nets in their first-round playoff matchup against the Boston Celtics following weeks of speculation that he could possibly play in the series.
“Ben Simmons might also be the weakest, most pathetic excuse for a professional athlete we have ever seen in, not just American history, but the history of sports,” Smith said amid news that the former No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick would not be in the Nets’ lineup for Game 4 later that evening. “I can’t think of a professional athlete that has come across more pathetic than this man.”
Smith’s commentary was shared and broadcasted on social media and various other platforms, with many weighing in on whether the former sports columnist’s tirade was warranted, including Foxx. The Oscar winner shared his thoughts under a post of a clip of the segment on Instagram, deeming Smith’s criticism as excessive and unwarranted.
“That is completely unfair @bensimmons has a family this man has people that love him and this man just plays basketball but to be dragged through the mud like this is unfair,” Foxx wrote. He also compared Smith’s criticism of Black athletes to that of athletes of other races, particularly Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who Smith has voiced his respect and admiration for on numerous occasions.
“And why is it @stephenasmith you only go at basketball players,” he continued. “You [are] completely mute when it comes to the Tom Bradys [and] the Aaron Rodgers of the world… You get where I’m going… stop it bruh it’s out of bounds.”
The Brooklyn Nets were eliminated from the NBA Playoffs on Monday night after being swept 4-0 by the Boston Celtics after their 116-112 defeat in Game 4.