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Stephen A. Smith Apologizes to Rihanna for 'She Ain't Beyoncé' Comments

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2023

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 18: Stephen A. Smith visits SiriusXM's 'The Howard Stern Show' at SiriusXM Studios on January 18, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Hell hath no fury like a Rihanna fan scorned.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith apologized Wednesday for a comment he made regarding the singer, who will perform at the Super Bowl LVII halftime show. In the video, he described her as a "superstar" and "a worthy person to be doing the Super Bowl halftime show."

Stephen A Smith @stephenasmith

Apologies to Rihanna for my words, gotta be more careful! <a href="https://t.co/RLcsaQAJ4v">pic.twitter.com/RLcsaQAJ4v</a>

Smith drew the ire of Rihanna's fans when he discussed her upcoming performance on Sherri Shepherd's daytime talk show. He offered plenty of praise before qualifying that Rihanna "ain't Beyoncé."

📺 SHERRI 📺 @sherrishowtv

Well..he said he was a straight shooter! 😳🤣 <a href="https://twitter.com/stephenasmith?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@stephenasmith</a> sounds off on Rihanna's upcoming Superbowl performance!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/sherri?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#sherri</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/sherrishowtv?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#sherrishowtv</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/sherrishepherd?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#sherrishepherd</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/fun?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#fun</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/joy?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#joy</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/laughter?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#laughter</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/daytimetv?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#daytimetv</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/talkshow?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#talkshow</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/stephenasmith?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#stephenasmith</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/espn?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#espn</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/straightshooter?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#straightshooter</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/rihanna?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#rihanna</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/superbowl?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#superbowl</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/beyonce?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#beyonce</a> <a href="https://t.co/fTUdyKVr8m">pic.twitter.com/fTUdyKVr8m</a>

In his apology, Smith said he only wanted to reflect how highly he regards Beyoncé and didn't intend to slight Rihanna.

"I know she's phenomenal," he said. "And she's my sister. Nothing but love for her. But Beyoncé is my sister, too. I got love for both of them. I just think that Beyoncé is the greatest performer out there today. That's me. That doesn't mean I'm hating on anybody else."

Super Bowl LVII is scheduled for Feb. 12. You can bet that plenty of Rihanna fans will be watching First Take on Feb. 13 to hear Smith's assessment of her performance.