There's an argument to be made that Stephen A. Smith, one of ESPN's more voluble talking heads, is qualified to talk about sports. Reasonable people can (and do) disagree, but Smith has spent two decades as a professional sports journalist and his continued employment by the country's biggest sports network suggests that he has his fans.
Does that mean Stephen A. Smith is qualified to deliver a lecture on black history?
SMU says yes. The university announced today that Smith will deliver the keynote address on Sunday for the school's celebration of Black History Month.
"He will discuss the history and the future of African Americans," a news release says. "The evening also will include a question and answer session and autographs."
Before you declare that SMU made a dumb decision and wonder why they couldn't have just gotten a civil rights leader or a well-regarded scholar, take a glance at Smith's bio with the American Program Bureau.
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He's a sports journalist, sure, but he's also a "social critic" who "adeptly applies his savvy insights into the world of sports to society at large, drawing parallels to such issues as politics and race relations in America." This isn't just on ESPN. He's "offer[ed] his candid views on issues relating to race, politics, and current events" on Morning Joe, The Ed Show, Hannity and Larry King Live.
So you see? He's totally qualified. For the uninitiated, here's a Stephen A. Smith highlight reel from YouTube:
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.