Stephen A. Smith has defended his ESPN colleague Malika Andrews from a bevy of criticism she is receiving on social media, and also revealed new details from the aftermath of when they had a contentious on-air interaction in the wake of the Ime Udoka scandal.
Former NFL wideout Dez Bryant has been among the voices sharply critical of Andrews, invoking racial undertones to question why she delayed discussing allegations that Thunder guard Josh Giddey had an inappropriate relationship with a minor but brought up former Alabama star Brandon Miller’s involvement in a murder during the NBA Draft.
“Dez Bryant, I respect you my brother, but that was a bit extreme,” Smith began, in a segment on his eponymous podcast.
“Josh Giddey is being investigated for allegedly messing with an underaged girl. We don’t know the facts. So, getting on Malika Andrews I believe is off-kilter and a bit extreme.
“Bringing up her parents, her upbringing, some private school education. Come on, Dez.”
Last year, Smith and Andrews butted heads on “First Take” after news of Ime Udoka’s workplace affair with a Celtics staffer emerged.
While this segment has been highlighted ever since by people on social media who psychoanalyze Andrews and gripe about her NBA coverage, Smith said that it was water under the bridge.
“Malika Andrews is a colleague of mine,” Smith continued.
“We got into our little tussle on the air. We had a conversation later. She apologized. I accepted her apology because I’m a human being and I make mistakes too. But we got folks coming at her all the time. Why?”
He further defended Andrews for asking ESPN colleague Adrian Wojnarowski during the NBA Draft about whether court testimony that Miller brought a weapon to a former Alabama teammate that was ultimately used in a fatal shooting would impact Miller’s draft positioning.
“Let’s talk about Brandon Miller for a second. How in God’s name does Malika Andrews not ask that question on draft night? She had to!” Smith said.
“We don’t always have choices. You have to ask those questions. In this Josh Giddey situation, you can’t go on the air with a strong opinion, sounding accusatory, when an investigation is still open.”
Miller was not charged in the case, and was selected second overall in this year’s draft by the Hornets.
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