ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith is one of those personalities that a lot of people don’t like. Frankly, I’m not one of them. I genuinely like the guy, even if I disagree with him on a number of points.
So understand that nothing I’m saying today is personal.
Smith recently spoke about University of Alabama basketball star Brandon Miller. Miller is accused of giving a gun he owned to a friend. That gun was then used in a fatal shooting by said friend.
Recently, Miller took to the basketball court in a tough environment and had a hell of a game.
Smith, spoke about that, and in the process kind of got out of his lane.
“I will applaud Brandon Miller, the basketball player, from the standpoint that to be to endure what he was enduring last night,” Smith said.
“And to go out there as a freshman and to put on that show on the road absolutely showed the level of mental toughness that I believe NBA scouts, people on the next level, will look at assuming there’s nothing that comes from this from a legal perspective for him, they’ll look at that level of mental toughness and find a way to applaud that,” he said. “And as a basketball player, I’m not saying that should be applauded.”
Smith pivoted from Miller’s 41-point performance, where he also scored the game-winning basket in overtime, to the police’s testimony that Miller’s gun was used in the shooting.
“As a young man, I want Brandon Miller to think about this,” Smith said. “You didn’t pull the trigger, you didn’t shoot anybody, and it’s important to say that. But it’s also important to say this. If you didn’t have that firearm to provide for Darius Miles and the person that he was with, a 23-year-old young lady probably would still be alive.”
Now, I get where Smith is trying to come from. Based on the reports we’ve seen, it seems likely that Miller screwed up and may well face criminal charges.
But the problem wasn’t that Miller had a gun.
You see, to the best of my knowledge, Brandon Miller has no felony convictions nor has he been convicted of domestic abuse. He hasn’t been ruled incompetent by any court that I’m aware of, either.
As such, he had every right to own a firearm. He did nothing wrong by having that gun.
Yes, providing a gun to Darius Miles appears to be a colossal mistake and one that may cost Miller everything. Had that been the totality of Stephen A’s commentary, I probably wouldn’t be talking about it right now, because I’d agree.
But that’s not what he said. He specifically said that if Miller didn’t have that gun and that’s where I have a problem.
It almost looks like Smith is implying that simply by having the gun, Miller was destined to hand that over to Miles, like he was a passive entity held mesmerized under the firearm’s influence. He was not.
He was a lawful adult who we had every reason to believe understood what he was doing.
So let’s try something new for a change, Stephen. Let’s put the blame on Miller and his actions after exercising his right to keep and bear arms and not the fact that he opted to exercise that right.
You know, just to shake things up a bit.