Stephen A. Smith speaks at SAMARC basketball camp - WRBL

Stephen A. Smith speaks at SAMARC basketball camp

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ESPN basketball analyst Stephen A. Smith was in Columbus on Tuesday for the tenth annual SAMARC basketball camp at Columbus State.

The camp is free and put on by Columbus natives Marc Upshaw and Sam Mitchell, currently an assistant coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves, whom Smith has known for almost two decades.

“Our relationship as friends is going on probably close to 20 years,” Smith said of Mitchell. “Just knowing who he is, what he's about, how much he cares about the kids, uplifting them, inspiring them, making sure they recognize the kind of things they want in life are not going to come easy, that it's going to come in the form of hard work, dedication and making sure that you respect your elders, you do the things that you're supposed to do, you listen.”

Smith’s visit comes just days after he made controversial statements on the ESPN program “First Take.” While discussing Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice allegedly hitting his fiancé, Smith said in part “Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke the wrong actions.”

Those comments sparked wild backlash, but Smith said he never considered cancelling his appearance.

“The controversy was self-inflicted,” he said. “I'm on the record saying I was misunderstood, but that's my responsibility. I have a responsibility to articulate myself concisely and clearly, and I failed to do that last week, so the hits that I took were well-deserved. I'm a big boy, I can take it.”

Just hours after Smith met the media in Columbus, ESPN suspended him from “First Take” and ESPN Radio for a week as punishment for the comments.


Jonathan Huskey

Jonathan comes to News 3 from Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Ark., where he anchored weekends and reported during the week on some of the best high school sports in the state. More>>

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