You hold your breath when “First Take” tackles subjects that exist entirely outside the realm of sports. After all, the show is built on intentionally overblown, controversial opinions about stuff that doesn’t matter (determining the “elite” quarterbacks, etc.), so when it comes to stuff that actually does matter, Stephen A. Smith & Co. run the risk of dropping some seriously insensitive statements. Just ask Chip Kelly.
Monday morning, the panel began discussing Colin Kaepernick’s decision to point out the silver lining of Fidel Castro’s tyrannical, six-decade reign over the Cuban people.
In case you missed it, Kaepernick told a Miami Herald reporter that he admires how the now deceased despot prioritized education over “mass incarceration,” adding that the U.S. prison system has unfairly broken up countless African-American families. The implication being that Castro did not…or something.
“First Take” moderator Molly Qerim — whose family lived in Soviet-controlled Albania as a child — was quick to point out how the 49ers quarterback glossed over the fact that Fidel Castro famously jailed millions of Cubans for political reasons, in effect doing exactly what Kaepernick was taking issue with. It was a rare, personal interjection from the normally reserved host.
“He pointed out how Fidel Castro invested in their education system and they have high literacy rates,” she said. “He controlled what they read.”
“I know what it is like to have family under Communism and have to send medical supplies and money and have it intervened and calling and crying on the phone,” she continued, her voice clearly indicating just how offended she was by his comments. “What this man did, Fidel Castro, he oppressed his people for nearly six decades. That legacy is firing squads, poverty and denying human rights. Cuban-Americans are people of color so I understand when you are talking about African-Americans and how there is some sympathy with apartheid.
“If he speaks on these subjects, he can’t have surface level knowledge. It is so ill-informed, so insensitive and so disrespectful.”
Watch the full segment, below…