Stephen A. Smith explained to Bill Maher that he agreed with his idea that “it’s your body” in regards to athletes not getting the jab in the wake of a massively viral clip of Smith calling out Kyrie Irving, an NBA star, all over refusing to submit to the COVID vaccine.
As part of the appearance of the ESPN host on the podcast “Club Random with Bill Maher,” Maher questioned Smith about his previous statements about the star of the Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving, “regress[ing] to an alarming level of self-righteousness” in the wake of Irving speaking out against the vaccine mandate. Smith stated it only ends up making Irving quite “stupid.”
“I don’t know what you thought of the athletes who didn’t want to get vaccinated, and I don’t want to get into a big fight about it, because I will,” stated the host. “But I was on their side. Because health is a case-by-case basis, and when you’re a finely-tuned athlete with a body that is perfect, because that’s your living, you put in that body only what you want to put on to keep that instrument, that is your instrument.”
“The idea that [Novak] Djokovic was going to hurt anybody, or Aaron Rodgers, or, oh my gosh, Kyrie Irving, I mean, clutch my pearls,” he went on. “I thought ‘Bully for you guys for standing,’ especially Kyrie Irving, because he gave up a lot of money, although he’ll get it back, because he can play now, right?”
“Let me be very clear,” stated Smith. “I don’t disagree with you. … Yeah, it’s your body, and somebody is trying to tell you what to inject into your body. I didn’t like it, I was very reluctant and hesitant about getting vaccinated. But obviously it’s made very clear, you know, you want to work here in these corridors, you need to do this, right?”
“Here’s where I held it against Kyrie,” he stated. “It had nothing to do with being vaccinated … or being unvaccinated, in my mind. What bothered me is that you are a superstar on a team that is a championship contender, and everybody is there because of you…”
“But it’s still his body,” chimed in Maher.
“All I’m saying is, it’s your right,” answered Smith. “But I’m thinking about it from a competitive perspective. A lot of dudes in the NBA didn’t want to do it. But you’re playing for a championship.”
Maher stated once again that it is a person’s body that the vaccine is now inside of, and “we just don’t know that much. Even though they think they do. … Because nobody can realistically look you in the eye and say we are a million percent sure there’s just no doubt that no harm can come, and I’m talking about down the road.”
Smith did end up admitting that despite his issues, he did end up getting the vaccine, but ended up catching a severe case of COVID and ended up hospitalized back in December.
“I had COVID. I was double vaccinated, I hadn’t taken the booster shot yet,” explained the ESPN host. “Damn thing almost killed me because I had an endoscopy prior to acquiring COVID. I had double pneumonia. … So I understand where everybody’s coming from and I get all of that, but I also say this to you — when it comes to professional athletes, you know how much stuff gets put in their body that they have no damn clue whatsoever what it is?”
The HBO host called out the man’s claims and stated that many athletes such as Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady know just what is going into their bodies.
“Well, obviously, it didn’t work on you,” stated Maher.
“I’m acknowledging I don’t know,” shot back Smith. “But what I’m saying is that I don’t know and yet I’m here in this situation. On one hand, they’re telling me because I was vaccinated, that’s why I’m alive. And in my mind, a part of me is saying, but dammit, I was double vaccinated, should have never got the damn thing.”