Stephen A. Smith at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Eric Braeden Starring on The Young and the Restless on the set at CBS Television City on February 7, 2020© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com310-657-9661
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

Stephen A. Smith, who’s an ESPN host when not playing Brick on the ABC soap, opened his mouth and inserted his foot all the way in.

As reported by our sister site TVLine, during the July 12 edition of First Take, ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith argued that Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani was “harming the game” of baseball because the Japanese pitcher uses an English translator during press conferences. Um, come again?

“This brother is special, make no mistake about it,” said Smith, who recurs on General Hospital as Brick. “But the fact that you’ve got a foreign player that doesn’t speak English, that needs an interpreter, believe it or not, I think contributes to harming the game to some degree when that’s your box-office appeal.”

Actually, Ohtani’s box-office appeal is probably that he’s so good that he’s the first athlete in Major League history to be chosen to both pitch and hit in the upcoming All-Star Game. But instead of him, “it needs to be somebody like [the Philadelphia Phillies’] Bryce Harper, [the Angels’] Mike Trout, those guys,” suggested Smith. “And unfortunately, at this moment in time, that’s not the case.”

He wasn’t done yet, either. “When you talk about an audience gravitating to the tube, or to the ballpark, to actually watch you, OK?” he continued. “I don’t think it helps that the No. 1 face [of the sport] is a dude that needs an interpreter so you can understand what the hell he’s saying.”

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After getting an inkling of just how egregious his error was, Smith took to Twitter to apologize. “I never intended to offend any community, particularly the Asian community,” he insisted. “As an African-American, keenly aware of the damage stereotyping has done to many in this country, it should’ve elevated my sensitivities even more.

“Based on my words, I failed in that regard,” he continued, “and it’s on me.”

While this real-life drama plays itself out, scroll through the below photo gallery, which revisits other backstage scandals that rocked daytime.