The two ESPN personalities went head-to-head about the differences between Kyrie and Rodgers.
Yesterday, it was revealed that Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss this Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs as a result. And while Rodgers testing positive for COVID would undoubtedly make waves under any circumstance, this specific instance was made much worse when it was revealed the NFL's reigning MVP had lied about his vaccination status.
Back in August, Rodgers was asked if he was vaccinated. He said yes, and included that he had been "immunized." Three months later, and it was revealed that his use of the word "immunized" was a clever way to dance around the league's COVID protocols. As Ian Rapoport reported, Rodgers is not vaccinated. He reportedly received treatment from a doctor to increase his antibodies, but he is not vaccinated.
Smith has been a long time supporter of Rodgers. But even he had to acknowledge that Rodgers is a "liar" for fabricating the narrative that he is vaccinated.
"Aaron Rodgers looks very bad today, for all the wrong reasons," Smith said. "Aaron Rodgers is a liar. Period. He lied through his teeth, with a smirk on his face, regarding a matter that is very, very serious."
Despite Smith turning on his favorite quarterback in the NFL, Williams didn't think his condemnation of Rodgers was strong enough.
Williams has been public in his defense of Kyrie Irving, who is missing the NBA season because he refuses to get the COVID vaccine, and has said he received death threats for defending him. Smith, on the other hand, has been extremely critical of Irving's choice to remain unvaccinated and miss games, and has gone out of his way to tear him apart seemingly every day.
On today's (November 4) episode of First Take, Smith and Williams met face-to-face to debate the difference between the Rodgers and Irving situations, and J-Will pulled out some receipts on Stephen A. Smith.
"They are drastically different," Williams said of the two situations. "Aaron Rodgers is exponentially worse. There was not only a lie, there was an intent to lie."
Williams continued on to address some of the discrepancies he found between Smith's reaction to Irving, and Smith's reaction to Rodgers.
"You said, 'it amounts to betrayal for Kyrie,' you said, flat out, 'stupid' as it relates to what he's doing. Quote, 'bad teammate.' Quote, 'selfish.' On October 16 CNN, 'to hell with you.' You say all these things about Kyrie Irving, and Kyrie Irving was very up front, and honest about what his situation was. He wasn't jeopardizing anybody else. He didn't put anybody else on the Brooklyn Nets and their team at risk ... but he was subject to mass criticism by you, animated criticism by you," Williams said, acknowledging that Smith had ripped Rodgers, but not in the same way. "I didn't feel the same venom. I didn't feel the same energy that was associated with Kyrie Irving. And a part of me wonders, why?"
Smith answered by saying that his vitriol towards Irving was a result of arguments he had with Williams, and in the final segment of the day, he took one final shot at the former Duke star.
"First of all, what I would say to my brother Jay who I love is this," he started. "You can stop being that damn sensitive when it comes to Kyrie Irving, because you got too much sympathy."
While Smith and Williams eventually came to a respectful compromise, the tension between the two was obvious, and it will be interesting to see how the narrative surrounding Rodgers situation continues to unfold. There will surely be consequences for lying about his vaccination status, but it is yet to be seen just how severe those consequences are.
Keep it locked to HNHH for any further updates regarding Rodgers and Irving, and in meantime, let us know what you think about Smith and Williams' heated debate on First Take down in the comments.