The Redskins’ feud with Stephen A. Smith reached its, uh, logical conclusion (we can only hope!) on Monday morning, when the host of ESPN’s “First Take” sipped a green beverage before gloating about Washington’s loss to the Lions on Sunday.
We knew this was coming. Minutes after Matthew Stafford completed Detroit’s comeback to snap the Redskins’ four-game winning streak, Smith promised next-day retribution on his show.
“Did the Redskins prove they are who you thought they were?” co-host Molly Qerim asked Smith on Monday.
“Yeah, they did! They did! Bravo again,” Smith said, before clapping mockingly. “Let me say something. This last week was kind of, I don’t want to say tough, because it really doesn’t faze me. [ESPN 980 radio hosts and former Redskins] Brian Mitchell and Doc Walker threw me for a little loop, because I love the brothers, but they were getting on me because I had the audacity to sit up there and say, ‘You know what? Focus on something bigger than the NFC East.’ ”
(A brief synopsis of last week’s feud, for anyone who is still reading this and was fortunate enough to miss the back-and-forth that preceded Monday’s rant: Chris Baker and Ricky Jean Francois shouted about the Redskins being the defending NFC East champions following last Sunday’s win over the Eagles, who were favorites at FedEx Field. Smith took issue with it, suggesting that the Redskins boasting about winning the NFC East was indicative of a loser’s mentality and that the team should be focused on bigger things. Baker called Smith a name on Twitter. Smith defended his opinion on “First Take” the following day. By Wednesday, Mitchell was yelling at Smith on ESPN 980 and Redskins Coach Jay Gruden was being asked about Smith’s comments during his news conference. Now, back to Smith’s latest rant …)
“I apologize! I was wrong! Maybe you should focus on just the NFC East, because you’re in danger of not getting that!” Smith continued. “I mean, my lord. All of this stuff. All I did was say, hey, y’all beat the Eagles and you roll out there and you’re like, ‘Yo, we’re the kings of the NFC East.’ But you’re in second place, you lost to the first-place team in the division, which is the Cowboys, already. You’ve got bigger priorities. You’ve got Kirk Cousins bettering himself with the franchise tag $19.95 million. You’ve got Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, who can ball, both entering the last year of their contracts. You’ve got [Josh] Doctson, who can play, and he’s got skills and a tremendous upside, the future could potentially be bright. Matt Jones showed us something against the Philadelphia Eagles; I like this brother. Defensively, even though they’ve been struggling a little bit, you’ve got [Ryan] Kerrigan and the crew, they can do some things, they can get to the quarterback. And of course there’s the great Jay Gruden, because we know he’s great just by his name alone. Let’s be clear about that. We know that he’s great, [because he] takes time out of his busy schedule to comment about me.”
(Gruden, by the way, said Smith was “out of line” for calling the Redskins losers.)
” ‘I think it was very, very unfair, this guy has no clue about how hard we’re working,’ ” Smith said, mimicking some of Gruden’s comments from Wednesday. “Who gives a damn about hard work? It’s results. Am I wrong in assuming that NFL players automatically work hard? I’m assuming that you work hard. I’m assuming that you putting forth the max effort. That’s what we’re getting on me about now? ‘Oh, he doesn’t know how hard we work.’ I know that you haven’t been to a Super Bowl since 1991.”
Meanwhile, Baker appears to have heeded his coach’s advice about bickering with members of the media, which is that you can’t win. “Block out the Haters,” Baker tweeted, which is progress.
Update: Baker was asked if he had a response to Smith’s latest comments during an interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Chad Dukes on Monday afternoon.
“No,” Baker said. “We’re just worried about the Cincinnati Bengals. We can’t really listen to what other people have to say about our team. We just have to continue to worry about each other and finding a way to win. The more you win, the less people will talk, but we have to just handle our part and that’s winning football games.”