Smith, who has been one of the loudest supporters of McCaffrey since he was coming out of Stanford a few years ago, reiterated that the star running back is receiving less coverage because he’s White.
“How many times do I have to say it? … I’ve said this about Christian McCaffrey before, and I’m gonna say it again. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s damn near reverse discrimination. If this brother were Black, we’d be talking about him more. I mean this dude is special,” Smith said Thursday.
“Running the football, catching the football out of the backfield. We know what he did coming out of college at Stanford. Christian McCaffrey is a special, special dude,” Smith added.
Smith made the comments on ESPN’s “First Take,” and it’s not the first time he’s raised the issue about McCaffrey. Smith mentioned “reverse discrimination” in 2020 when McCaffrey signed a four-year, $ 64 million contract extension. He touted McCaffrey’s ability to run and catch the football and his emergence as the face of the franchise.
In 2017, Smith said the same thing.
“If Christian McCaffrey were Black, we’d be raving about him. He is a White guy playing the running back position, and I don’t think, as a nation, … we have truly embraced and appreciated what this brother did at Stanford. He was special. He was all they had.”
McCaffrey is in his fifth season with the Panthers and has shown an incredible ability, when healthy, to run and catch no matter who is under center for Carolina. His 2020 season was cut short after three games, but 2019 was his best year yet.
In 2019, McCaffrey was an All-Pro and a Pro Bowler for the first time, rushing for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns and catching 116 passes for 1,005 yards and four touchdowns.
McCaffrey is poised to have another strong year in 2021. After two weeks, he has gained 170 yards on 45 carries with a touchdown and 14 catches for 154 yards.