AAJA’s Sports Task Force responds to ESPN’s Stephen A Smith’s remarks on Shohei Ohtani

The Asian American Journalists Association Sports Task Force was disappointed to hear Stephen A. Smith’s remarks on the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, a Japanese-born player, during the July 12th “First Take” on ESPN.

Smith’s comments highlighted the continual and hurtful “foreigner” and “other” perception many Asian American and Pacific Islanders continue to endure today.

Smith has a tremendous voice and platform, and we appreciate his apology. During a time of horrific rates of anti-Asian attacks and xenophobia in our country, we emphasize the importance of listening, empathy and cultural awareness.

The AAJA Sports Task Force stands ready to serve as a resource for media outlets on how to cover Asian and Asian American athletes and welcome and encourage any requests for additional feedback or input on this subject. AAJA calls on national and local media outlets to prioritize coverage of this ongoing violence and hate against AAPIs, and to empower their journalists to report on these incidents immediately, accurately and comprehensively.

Journalists can also utilize AAJA’s official guidance on covering Asia and Asian Americans.

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