Stephen A. Smith has retracted his initial stance after receiving backlash for suggesting Will Smith owed the Black community an explanation for slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards. During the latest episode of his YouTube show on Monday (June 10), the decorated sports analyst reiterated how devastating the incident was for everyone.

“It was a blemish on all of us because I know how much white America reveres Will Smith and the thinking along the lines in my mind was, ‘H**l, if he did that, what would the rest of us do?’” he stated. “There are certain things that happen in the lives of an individual where those incidences are used as a license to castigate the rest of us.” He also believed the slap negatively impacted the success of Will and director Antoine Fuqua's historical thriller, Emancipation.

As far as what brought about his change of heart, Stephen A. revealed that he spoke to Charlie Mack, Will's longtime friend and former security. "I got a lot of love for Mack, and he was on fire. [He called] me because he disagreed with my opinion and was going back and forth with me about it, and then he caught me because he said, 'Stephen A., what about grace?'" the "First Take" host recalled. "Throughout Will Smith's life, there has been exponentially far more good than bad... So, I gotta stand down."

This all stemmed from Stephen A.'s critique of the Bad Boys: Ride or Die star on Sunday (June 9), when he revisited the aforementioned Oscars incident. “We know you wouldn’t have smacked Ricky Gervais, Bill Maher, Bill Burr or a host of others,” he expressed. “We know you wouldn’t have done that. No apology is necessary. I’m just saying a lot of folks ain’t get over that. A lot of folks find it hard to just go to the movies to watch you. I’m one of those people.”