Photo: Stephen A. Smith/Twitter

On Monday’s ESPN “First Take,” Stephen A. Smith reported that several black NBA coaches were unhappy with LeBron James and J.J. Redick doing a podcast together while Darvin Ham was the Lakers’ coach. After Ham was fired in early May, Redick is now the frontrunner for the job.

“Numerous coaches, black coaches, called me expressing how they took issue with that podcast taking place,” Smith said. “Some of them felt very salty about that.” 

Molly Qerim asked Smith why they were upset about it.

“Because it hurt Darvin Ham,” Smith explained, adding that it wasn’t Redick’s fault and he was right to do the podcast.

Fox Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb was highly offended by Smith’s comments, accusing the ESPN host of initiating an unnecessary racial discussion.

“Let me state this very carefully,” Gottlieb began. “Stephen A. Smith is a race-baiter. He is disgraceful saying that on national TV.”

“The only one who’s making it out to be a racial thing is Stephen A. Smith. He is creating this. This is, honestly, pure evil,” Gottlieb continued. 

“This is just as bad as the perception that President Trump stokes the ‘white nationalist’ flame. There’s no difference. None.” 

Gottlieb then compared Smith’s “race-baiting” to dealing drugs. 

“[He benefits] financially from it… how’s that any different than being a drug dealer, benefiting off the sorrow of others? That’s what he’s doing,” Gottlieb said.