Friends Doing Favors for Friends? Stephen A. Smith Blasts Hiring Process for Kliff Kingsbury

Stephen A. Smith called out the Commanders regarding Kliff Kingsbury. Not because of his past résumé, but because of hiring practices Smith presented.

Not everyone has welcomed the Washington Commanders’ hire of Kliff Kingsbury as offensive coordinator. Count Stephen A. Smith as one who blasted the hire.

Stephen A. Smith Calls Out Washington for How It Hired Kliff Kingsbury

Speaking on the Monday edition of the ESPN morning show “First Take,” Smith ranted about how he believes race became a factor in Kingsbury taking the coordinator gig for the Commanders. The move comes with Kingsbury taking over for two-time Super Bowl winner Eric Bieniemy.

“I’m not going to sit here and say that a former head coach in the National Football League doesn’t deserve to be an offensive coordinator,” Smith began.

MORE: What Kliff Kingsbury Hire Means for Caleb Williams

However, he believes Kingsbury should’ve stayed where he was in the college game, where Kingsbury made his mark as a longtime quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. He was the head coach of Texas Tech for six seasons before departing for the NFL after the 2018 campaign.

“I’m not exaggerating when I say this: Kliff Kingsbury, the now former head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, I challenge anybody in football to tell me I’m wrong about this…this man is more known for his relationships with quarterbacks and his fly a** crib that he had during the NFL Draft when COVID was going on, and we saw where he lived. He’s more known for that than he is for winning football games,” Smith said.

Smith Calls Out Diversity Angle for Kingsbury

Smith wasn’t through calling out the Commanders.

He went on to bring up how Kingsbury benefits from his skin tone while landing high-profile coaching jobs in the NFL.

“We talk about diversity, and we certainly saw black coaches getting hired and all that other stuff. That’s not where I’m going. I’m saying from a historical perspective, we look at a guy like Kliff Kingsbury, and you know what we see as black folks? This is the kind of stuff that don’t happen for black folks,” Smith said.

Smith believed that Kingsbury’s relationship with Kyler Murray led to the former Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner to land No. 1 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Kingsbury never coached in Norman, Oklahoma, when Murray was there — though the Sooners ran the “Air Raid” offense that Kingsbury likes to run.

Furthermore, Smith has reason to believe that Kingsbury’s ties to USC and Heisman winner Caleb Williams are what has helped persuade Washington to hire him. Williams is expected to be a top-three selection in the April 2024 draft. The Commanders are slotted to pick at No. 2.

“It doesn’t seem to me there are bonafide football reasons as to why Kliff Kingsbury is the new offensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders,” Smith continued. “You couldn’t produce so much in college. You damn sure didn’t do it in the pros. But somehow, someway, a job opportunity comes your way. As the great Don King once said, ‘Only in America.'”

MORE: What Kliff Kingsbury Hire Means for Caleb Williams

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