ESPN's Stephen A. Smith received some backlash on Thursday for his comments about former New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon and his battle with addiction. 

During his usual spot on ESPN's "First Take," Smith said the following:

“I don’t want to come across as harsh or unsympathetic to Josh Gordon,” Smith said (H/T New York Post). “But let’s be very, very clear here. You’ve got a whole bunch of people out there talking about ‘It’s a disease, it’s a disease’ because it’s an addiction.

“Well, I’m not going to debunk or eliminate the notion that it’s a disease, but how did it become one? Because you can’t get addicted to something you never try. This isn’t cancer. This isn’t Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or something like that. This is self-inflicted.”

Some of the reactions to his comments:

Despite the backlash, Smith stands by his remarks about the troubled wide receiver. 

Check out his thoughts in the video embedded below.

Gordon, 27, announced he was walking away from football to focus on his mental health Thursday afternoon, just before news broke that he would be suspended indefinitely for violating terms of his reinstatement under the NFL's substance abuse policy. 

The Patriots acquired Gordon from the Cleveland Browns in September in exchange for a fifth round pick. In 11 games with the Patriots, he caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns.