I had thoughts at odds with Stephen A Smith of the popular First Take show this morning in his references and remarks to Texas head football coach Charlie Strong. Much of this disagreement has to do with the ethnicity of all the parties mentioned. I am a proud fan of Stephen A and see him as a great role model for young African American men and he continues to open doors in the broadcasting industry. However, I think he was lacking in self-awareness today as he chose to call Mike and Mike this morning to make his statement that it is time for Texas to sever ties with Strong. Besides my general difference of opinion that Strong should be ended, my biggest problem is when obstacles are created by those fighting the same fight. And understand that there is a fight to be fought. Just like Stephen A is an excellent model, so is Charlie Strong. Charlie Strong’s accomplishments saw him be the first African-American head coach of Texan football. Strong is well known for his integrity and general relationships with players.
It’s okay for Stephen A Smith to have his own take on the work Strong does just because he’s African American, but consider the following. Stephen A Smith is a leading sports analyst with a wide range of information on a variety of news and sports. However none of us are perfect, we all have our weaknesses for some reason. Stephen A Smith would be one of the first voices I look for on NBA news. He has a deep and long vision of the league and a beneficial bond with many players. For NFL news, once again, Stephen A is a man I love to listen to to break down what he’s seen throughout the season. College football is not its arena. Stephen A is not very familiar with college football. By his own admission, he first became interested in college football only a few years ago due to his co-host and close friend Skip Bayless, from whom he also takes much of his college football advice. If we know anything about Skip Bayless, it’s this. He’s a renowned writer and spokesperson, but if you constantly disagree with his views on professional football, what makes you think he’s any different looking amateur? Basically I feel like Stephen A is just talking to talk.
He knows Texas has a losing record, recently blew itself up, and Charlie is in his sophomore year. Any regular observer of college football would at least recognize the expectation of a first class recruiting, the installation of a new system and program, and all the things recognizing competition in recruiting. Unlike Stephen A, high school players no longer know Texas is a powerhouse. They don’t know these HOOK EM ‘HORNS. They are reminiscent of other Texas schools such as Johnny Football at A&M, Andy Dalton at TCU and RGIII at Baylor. Any observer would know that this is not a quick turnaround job. It’s different from Harbaugh in Michigan or McElwain in Florida. Michigan is in the Big 10 and only really has to worry about Ohio Street and Michigan Street Florida had SEC talent just a bad strategist.
Texas had licensed players, lower ranked rookies and a long overdue coach. Add that to all the antics and politics that one has to play in Texas as opposed to Myer in Ohio or Saban in Alabama and it’s hard to create stability. Stephen and others should understand that no one is going to go to Texas and reverse the schedule in one season.
Stephen A provided himself as an accessory today. Many will be able to use his disguised words to condemn Strong without risking being labeled a racist or skating on that line. From the community, I think there are already enough people calling out for Charlie Strong’s work from Stephen. You need to be more aware than that. The main boosters didn’t want Charlie and now the athletic director who hired him is gone. Things are a little choppy for Charlie and I was surprised to see who went out of their way to add waves. ESPN’s Joe Schad reported that Charlie’s Job is secure. “Charlie has a lot of leeway,” a source said on Monday. “There is nowhere near the pressure to eliminate him back then that there was with Steve Patterson or even Mack Patterson.” Texas at this point is 1-4 with losses to No.15 ranked 4-1 Notre Dame, one point lost to undefeated No.23 ranked Cal, a poorly ranked No.21 and undefeated Oklahoma St special team, and finally a defeat on the road to TCU ranked No. 4 and undefeated. Stephen A was a little eccentric this morning. Still a lot of respect.