Stephen A. Smith is one of the hardest working men in the sports journalism business, hosting ESPN’s “First Take” weekday mornings from 10am – noon EST and “The Stephen A. Smith Show” on ESPN radio weekdays from 1pm-3pm EST, both of which will be in Atlanta Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Super Bowl week. Rolling out caught up to talk exclusively with the outspoken Smith about the impact that Colin Kaepernick will have on the Super Bowl in Atlanta, the impact of the big game on the city, what you can expect from a live taping with him, and more.
When Smith was asked about the impact of Colin Kaepernick on the Super Bowl in Atlanta, he said he thought it would be zero.
“I think you have a lot of people that obviously are opposed to the position that NFL teams have taken. There’s no question about that; and they’ve been very, very outspoken about it. But I think that story is somewhat dated from the mind’s eye to a certain degree,” Smith said.
Smith pointed out that there are performing artists like hip-hop icon Jay-Z who have refused to perform, but also cited the impact of the NFL on our culture.
“For the most part, people are going to watch the game because football is the closest thing we have to religion in this county,” Smith explained. “You have some pastors that revolve their service, their schedule around NFL games!”
Smith summed up his thought on the Kaepernick impact, or lack thereof, with one last statement.
“Ultimately, the same amount of eyeballs that the NFL is accustomed to seeing set their sights on the Super Bowl. I don’t think that will dissipate or diminish in any way,” Smith predicted.
Rolling out also asked the former college basketball player what impact the Super Bowl would have on the city of Atlanta.
“Obviously, the Super Bowl is great for any economy that it visits,” Smith said. “When you think about the kind of revenue that it will generate for the city of Atlanta and the amount of people it will employ just because of all of the festivities that are going on, the kind of businesses that will be patronized, simply because the Super Bowl is coming to town; that’s why everybody covets to have it and I think that Atlanta is the perfect place … in that regard.”
ESPN’s “First Take” will host live tapings of the show at the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart. Doors open at 8:30am EST for the 10am taping. From 1pm – 3pm EST, “The Stephen A. Smith Show” on ESPN Radio will broadcast live from the same location.
What can fans expect from a live taping?
“Personal interaction, because I like to interact with the fans while I’m there. That’s always enjoyable. But outside of that, the same ‘ol energy and passion that they see from me on the TV, if not moreso, because I love being in front of the fans. I love vibing with them and I love reminding them that, you know what, I eat and I bleed just like the rest of them,” Smith said.
There’s nothing that makes me more special than them,” he continued. “It’s just my job. But more importantly, that I appreciate all of their support. If it weren’t for the fans, I wouldn’t be me. It’s their support of me that has made me what I am in this industry and I’m incredibly grateful to it; and I try to show them [a] level of gratitude every chance [I] get.”