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‘You’re Not Black!’: Stephen A. Smith and Will Cain Clash Over Race in Heated Tony Romo Debate

A discussion about Tony Romo resulted in a heated clash on race between ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Will Cain.

The debate took place on First Take Wednesday — one night after newly-retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was feted at a Dallas Mavericks game. The former signal caller for America’s Team was an honorary Maverick for a day, as he participated in pre-game festivities and watched the action from the bench in uniform.

Smith thought the ceremony to be excessive. And he stated that he doesn’t know of an African American athlete with a similar level of achievement who has been celebrated in the same manner.

“I ask a simple question: Do you know of any black athlete that won just two playoff games, didn’t have any kind of postseason success whatsoever, that gets celebrated like this?” Smith said. “Do you know who that person is? Because I don’t know him. I’ve never seen it.”

Smith added:

“I’m enlightening you about the fact that these are the kinds of things away from the white community that, when folks in the black community huddle amongst ourselves and talk about things, and talk about discrepancies, it’s the kind of stuff that irks us. Because we know that those are the kinds of things that are not reserved for us. Sports is supposed to be the closest thing to a meritocracy. Where is it here?”

Cain disagreed strongly with Smith’s view race was a factor.

“What you just said was so much nonsense, and so much junk,” Cain said. “To make this racial is so far beyond the pale that it makes real racial issues hard to pay attention to.”

After Cain continued for a while, Smith interrupted and said: “I need you to hurry up so I can respond.”

“You don’t get to just chirp chirp chirp and talk about what we’re supposed to feel, and I don’t get a chance to respond!” Smith said. “What the hell do you think this is?! Let me be very, very clear: You’re not black! Don’t think for one second you get to tell me how to feel!”

Watch the whole thing above, via ESPN.

[featured image via screengrab]

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected]e.com Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo