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2021 NBA Finals - Game Three

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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, making him ineligible to play against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. His positive test has raised a lot of eyebrows around the NFL because Rodgers was thought to be vaccinated. Some think the Hall of Fame quarterback even lied to team officials about his vaccination status. In August, during preseason Rodgers implied he had been vaccinated, calling himself immunized. He also said he wouldn’t chastise players who were unvaccinated.

But Aaron Rodgers was never vaccinated and surprisingly enough, his lie is getting a pass from Stephen A. Smith. But why would Smith not chastise Aaron Rodgers the same way he did Kylie Irving and Lamar Jackson?

Smith has spent countless hours on his ESPN show, blasting black athletes who are vaccine-hesitant or outright anti-vax.

At the start of the NBA season, Smith was Kyrie Irving’s loudest critic after his decision to not get vaccinated forced the Brooklyn Nets to start the season without their star point guard.

Smith tore into Kyrie almost every day for more than a week. He called him selfish and said multiple times that Kyrie’s decision was some of the stupidest nonsense he’d ever seen. He went on to demand the Nets trade Kyrie and cut all ties with the future hall or farmer.

During the start of the NFL season, Smith aimed his sights at Lamar Jackson, another young black professional athlete who has made it known he doesn’t plan on getting vaccinated, even after catching COVID twice.


When the news hit the media circuit that Lamar would not be vaccinated, Smith took to his television show to throw the young man under the bus, calling his decision ridiculous.

Both Kyrie Irving and Lamar Jackson were honest with their teams and the media about their vaccination status, but Aaron Rodgers was not. That doesn’t seem to be a problem for Stephen A. Smith though. He didn’t call Aaron names or tell sports fans how ridiculous his decision was. Once the news hit about Rodgers, Smith barely even mentioned it on the show.

Why did Steven A. Smith give Rodgers a pass? He lied to the media, to the fans, and his teammates. He also put a lot of people’s health in jeopardy. But Steven A. Smith didn’t see a problem with that at all, saying “it’s just the Rona. It’s only one game.”

Social media has taken notice of Smith’s hypocrisy and many have called him out for it.

Regardless of what you think about Stephen A. Smith, he most certainly holds black athletes to a different standard. But is that standard in the best interests of our athletes, or just a come-up for Smith? Either way, we don’t see him changing his way anytime soon.


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2017 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - Day 3
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