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Stephen A. Smith Compares Griner’s Decision To Go To Russia With Lamar Jackson’s Contract Dispute: ‘Understand The Games That Come With It’

Mediaite 12/9/2022 Luke Kane
Stephen A. Smith Compares Griner’s Decision To Go To Russia With Lamar Jackson’s Contract Dispute: ‘Understand The Games That Come With It’
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Stephen A. Smith compared Brittney Griner choosing to go to Russia with the decisions by Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge to play in the last year of their contracts.

In February, Griner was arrested in Russia on drug smuggling charges for bringing less than one gram of CBD oil on her flight into the country. She traveled to Russia to play in the Russian Women’s Basketball Premier League. She was held in Russian custody until the U.S. government agreed to a 1-for-1 prisoner swap that freed Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer known as the “merchant of death.”

Smith believed Griner’s travel to Russia was a risk. He compared Griner’s decision to Jackson and Judge’s contract negotiations with their respective organizations on his Know Mercy With Stephen A. Smith podcast on Cadence13.

Judge played the entire 2022 season with no guaranteed contract for the 2023 season and beyond; the Yankees offered him a seven-year, $213.5 million extension that he turned down. He won the 2022 American League’s Most Valuable Player after he slugged an American League record 62 home runs and had 131 runs batted in.

In September, Jackson turned down a $133 million contract extension from the Ravens. On Sunday, Jackson reportedly suffered a sprained PCL in his knee that could sideline him for up to three weeks.

Stephen A. compared all three athletes’ risks they took and the “games” they played along with it.

“What happened to Brittney Griner was wrong,” Smith said. “She did nothing wrong. I just want to emphasize that I completely support her.”

“I would’ve been in panic mode to go over there, even though there was an exorbitant amount of money for her to be paid that she wasn’t necessarily getting paid playing in the WNBA, and that probably factored into her decisions as well. So we’re not throwing any shade. I’m just talking about looking at a political landscape and not being fearful enough.”

Smith pivoted and brought up Jackson’s contract situation with the Ravens, and now he’s hurt, which could affect his contract negotiations.

“In the case of Lamar Jackson, my brother, one injury is gonna cost you $200 million now,” Stephen A. continued. “A broken leg, a broken ankle, anything that would impede and inhibit your ability to do what we’re accustomed to seeing you do on Sunday afternoons, some Sunday nights, some Thursday nights.”

“Let me tell you what Stephen A. would do. I’d do one of two things,” Smith said. “I’d sign that contract, or I wouldn’t leave my house.”

Stephen A. then pointed to Judge’s situation. Judge reportedly agreed to a 9-year $360 million contract to stay with the Yankees. He bet on himself and succeeded.

“If I’m Aaron Judge, I’d do nothing differently,” Smith continued. “I bet on myself ’cause that’s what it’s all about. You’re betting on yourself, but you didn’t necessarily take those risks ’cause you knew down the pike there was gonna be some money for you; it was just a matter of how much.”

“So all you had to do was play until this season was over, and then the ball’s in your court, and he was undervalued clearly ’cause he got a two-year, $130 million extra from the Yankees,” Smith added.

Stephen A. concluded his comparison of all three athletes’ unique situations and believed they all needed to learn the “games” organizations and state governments play.

“We hate the game; we hate the games corporations play, entities play,” Smith added. “But above all else, remember this, slavery is gone. People use hyperbole like that and hyperbolic words like slavery and stuff like that. You have freedom of choice. You don’t have to work for that organization. You don’t have to play for that team. You don’t have to play in that league. You don’t have to be a participant.”

“You choose to, and when you choose to do those things, understand the games that come with it. Know where the minefields lie,” Smith added.

Listen above via Know Mercy With Stephen A. Smith podcast on Cadence13.

The post Stephen A. Smith Compares Griner’s Decision To Go To Russia With Lamar Jackson’s Contract Dispute: ‘Understand The Games That Come With It’ first appeared on Mediaite.
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