While ESPN‘s Stephen A. Smith has made a career of roasting people with his unique brand of contrary commentary, he is actually singing a different song when it comes to the subject of Sean “Diddy” Combs becoming the first Black majority owner of an NFL franchise. Allegations of sexual and racial misconduct has spurred Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to sell the team and Combs is in the running to buy the team. Smith discussed the move with First Take co-host Max Kellerman where they considered the obstacles that the mogul would have to overcome.
Smith and Kellerman agreed that the lack of minority ownership in the league is now and always has been a problem. The NFL rosters are nearly 70 percent Black but there is not a single Black majority team owner. Kellerman was critical of what he said is Diddy’s bad behavior over the last 10 to 15 years. He believes that the NFL would have to take a hard look at it and that his past could disqualify him from ownership. Smith called out the hypocrisy of the NFL if they assumed that posture.
“Well, first of all the NFL has to be careful,” Smith responded. “We live in a society today where we had an individual who was associated with child molestation being allowed to run for a senate seat. We have unsavory characters that are in our government. Okay, and when you live in a society that allows that don’t tell me that somebody with a checkered past can’t be allowed to own an NFL team–particularly when that is exactly that. The past.”
Smith went on to make the argument that Diddy, along with other wealthy investors, could raise the funds needed to close the deal. Other owners have done the same. Jerry Richardson, according to Smith, only owns 48 percent of the Panthers so clearly the music mogul won’t have to spend his entire estimated net worth of $820 million to close the deal.
Considering that an alleged history of sexual misconduct and use of racial slurs are behaviors which are forcing Richardson to sell the team in the first place, Kellerman’s argument about Diddy’s supposed checkered past loses its legs. But Smith said that a graver concern is what would happen if Colin Kaepernick became part of the ownership group. The outspoken co-host believes that it would kill Diddy’s chances of winning the bid.
“The bottom line is this,” Smith said. “You’ve got owners that have got checkered pasts. Let’s look into everybody’s past if we’re going to look into P. Diddy, point number one. And point number two, I’m already getting idiotic texts from people that I love dearly that are my friends talking about, ‘Well why not Colin Kaepernick?’ That’s just ignorant.
“They won’t let him back in the league as a quarterback. What in God’s name makes you think they would let him be a part of an ownership group and embrace that ownership group if they don’t even want him to be a quarterback? It’s bigger than Colin Kaepernick.”