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The Will Smith Oscars discourse doesn’t seem ready to die down just yet – even in the sports world.
On Monday’s episode of “First Take,” Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe waded into the waters of the controversial live TV moment, in which Smith walked on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock in the face after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head. Sharpe, who played 14 seasons in the NFL, said if he were the one getting slapped, he would have handled it a lot differently.
“I’d have came up out that tux. I’d have whooped Will Smith’s ass,” Sharpe said. “He’d have had to whoop me, or I’d have had to whoop him. And every time I see him it’s on sight.”
The infamous moment came near the end of Sunday’s show, as Rock was preparing to present the award for Best Documentary. He took a shot at Pinkett, saying: “Jada, I love you, G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.” (G.I. Jane is a film from the ’90s about a female special operative with a shaved head.)
After initially appearing to laugh at the joke – then catch wind of his wife’s annoyed response – Smith got up out of his seat, walked on stage and smacked Rock in the face. The comedian was stunned, saying, “Will Smith just slapped the s–t out of me.”
Smith apologized to the Academy later on in his speech after he won Best Actor for “King Richard.” But Sharpe didn’t believe it – or his behavior afterwards – to be adequate.
“I’m watching him at the Vanity Fair [Oscars Afterparty], and Will Smith is carrying on like ain’t nothing happened. And then you apologize to the Academy, at the Academy. You need to apologize to that man,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe also called slapping someone “the ultimate sign of disrespect.”
Smith eventually apologized to Rock in an Instagram post Monday.
“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris,” Smith wrote in the statement. “I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.”
The statement also read: “Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about my Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally. Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”