"This man is always reaching."
Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard JR Smith has responded to criticism from ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, who took issue with the fact that JR was wearing a hoodie while sitting on the Cavs' bench.
Stephen A had this to say last weekend when discussing JR Smith's return to the Cavs' starting lineup, per ESPN,
“In Game 1, when they played against Boston, JR Smith was sitting on that bench with a hoodie on,” Stephen A. Smith said. “I don’t know why the hell Nike made these damn uniforms that had hoods attached to it, by the way. You got a lot of white folks in the audience that are gonna think this is Trayvon Martin being revisited, and I’m not joking about it. The bench is no place for someone to be wearing hoodies.
“I have no problem with hoodies. People shouldn’t be stereotyped and stigmatized for wearing hoodies. I totally agree with the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade and LeBron James and Chris Bosh and Ray Allen and all of those guys when they donned those hoodies back then, after the shooting of Trayvon Martin by wannabe cop Mr. Zimmerman, who should have been convicted. But the bench? For a basketball player? Sitting on the bench with his team, that is no place for a hoodie. I don’t know why the hell Nike did that. They need to get rid of them damn hoodies. There’s no place for a hoodie. A hoodie shouldn’t be attached to a uniform that you can wear while you’re on the bench during a game, but JR Smith had it on and he wasn’t happy. And psychologically, he can’t deal with the relegation [to the bench] the way Dwyane Wade dealt with it.”
Over the weekend (and this morning), JR responded to Stephen A.'s comments in a series of tweets
JR kept his hood on during warmups prior to Cleveland's 123-101 loss to the New York Knicks last night, but he says it wasn't a continuation of his stance against Stephen A. Smith. When asked about it after the game, JR said, “That’s what I’ve always done."
“I mean, that’s ridiculous,” JR Smith said. “Stephen A. said that me wearing my hoodie on the bench makes white people remember Trayvon Martin. For one, they should remember him. Everybody should remember him. But for two, I’ve always worn a hoodie. I used to wear my hoodie in New York.”
He also reiterated that there are more than 450 players in the league and he's not the only one who wears the hoodie during warmups or while on the bench.
“To bring race into that and for me, out of all people, why would you bring me into it? I have nothing to do with it,” JR Smith said. “I could see if you want to critique me on my playing, but don’t do that. That’s ridiculous.”
“And there’s 450-plus players in the league,” JR Smith added. “Since they put the hoodie [warm-ups] in, you see guys who don’t even play wearing it. So it’s not like it’s a just-me thing. Everybody, well not everybody, but a majority of guys wear hoodies.”
According to ESPN, JR Smith said Stephen A. spoke to him about wearing his hoodie following the Cavs’ season opener against the Celtics, but the conversation was entirely different than the message he shared publicly.
“It’s crazy because after our first game when we played Boston, I saw him in the tunnel and he said, ‘Be careful wearing your hoodie because people are going to mistake that for you not wanting to play because you’re not starting or you being frustrated,’” JR Smith said.
“I said, ‘OK, I can see that.’ But then you’re switching it up to say what you said [about Martin], it’s like, what are you talking about? It’s cool. I mean, I expect it. I should expect that at this point.”
The Cavs, 3-4, will return to the court on Wednesday night for a home matchup against the Indiana Pacers.
Stephen. A Smith later clarified his comments about the hoodies, which you can check out below.