Jamie Foxx Calls Stephen A. Smith's Harsh Criticism of Ben Simmons 'Completely Unfair'

Jamie Foxx defended Brooklyn Nets player Ben Simmons after ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith called him "pathetic"

Stephen A. Smith, Ben Simmons, Jamie Foxx
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Even though the Brooklyn Nets are no longer contenders for this year's NBA championship, actor Jamie Foxx is playing defense for Ben Simmons.

On Monday, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith harshly criticized Simmons for not playing in any of Brooklyn's games against the Boston Celtics for their playoff series this month.

"Ben Simmons might also be the weakest, most pathetic excuse for a professional athlete we have ever seen in, not just American history, but the history of sports," Smith said after the Nets announced Simmons would miss Game 4 of the series against Boston. "I can't think of a professional athlete that has come across more pathetic than this man."

Simmons has not played in an NBA game since last June, when his former team, the Philadelphia 76ers, were eliminated from the 2021 playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks.

In February of this year, the 76ers traded Simmons to the Nets in exchange for James Harden. The three-time NBA All-Star has since been unable to play while recovering from a back injury, according to The Athletic.

Foxx appeared to defend Simmons in an Instagram comment reposted by The Shade Room on Monday. Other outlets noted that Foxx's comment was on a since-deleted post.

"That is completely unfair @bensimmons has a family this man has people that love him and this man just plays basketball but to be dragged through the mud like this is unfair," Foxx wrote in the comment.

The 54-year-old actor also criticized Smith for slamming Black players from the NBA and not white players from other leagues.

"And why is it @stephenasmith you only go at basketball players," Foxx said. "You [are] completely mute when it comes to the Tom Bradys [and] the Aaron Rodgers of the world."

"You get where I'm going… stop it bruh it's out of bounds," he wrote.

Representatives for Foxx did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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During a segment on ESPN's First Take on Tuesday, Smith said he and Foxx spoke over the phone about Simmons.

"Like I told Jamie Foxx on the phone that he's wrong, like I told him to his face that he's wrong, I'm going to tell him on national television that he's wrong!" Smith said during the segment, adding that he and Foxx are friends.

Smith said he does call out white athletes "when necessary," and said he called out Simmons and other players like Kyrie Irving because of their "impact and effect" on other Black athletes.

"When you go to the collective bargaining table, and they use them as an example to try to minimize their contributions to players, that's about those players," Smith said.

Pending setbacks in his rehabilitation, Simmons may suit up for the Nets next season following the team's elimination by the Celtics on Tuesday.

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