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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 14: Head coach Stephen A. Smith of Team Stephen A. looks on before the 2020 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game Presented By Ruffles at Wintrust Arena on February 14, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is apologizing for criticizing Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani for using an interpreter.

“I never intend to offend ANY COMMUNITY, particularly the Asian Community — and especially SHOHEI Ohtani, himself,” Smith wrote in an apology late Monday. “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.”

“I screwed up,” he added. “In this day and age, with all the violence being perpetrated against the Asian Community, my comments — albeit unintentional — were clearly insensitive and regrettable.”

On his podcast First Take, Smith shared his comments on the MLB star that using an interpreter is contributing to “harming the game.”

“But the fact that you got a foreign player that doesn’t speak English, that needs an interpreter … believe it or not, I think contributes to harming the game in some degree when that’s your box office appeal. It needs to be somebody like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, those guys. And unfortunately, at this moment in time, that’s not the case,” he said.

Smith’s comments did not sit well with the rest of social media about Ohtani’s marketability in the sport.

 

Ohtani who signed with the Angels in 2017, became the first Japanese-born player to play in the MLB’s Home Run Derby on Monday. The MLB star has not responded to Smith’s apology as of yet.