Stephen A. Says Rihanna ‘Ain’t Beyonce,’ Then Quickly Issues Apology For Dissing Super Bowl Halftime Singer

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ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith gave his take on the Super Bowl Halftime Show, and he’s way more of a Beyonce guy than a Rihana guy.

And he’s sorry about that.

Stephen A. hopped on Sherri Shepherd’s creatively-titled daytime talk show, Sherri, and during the appearance, he was asked if he was excited about this year’s halftime show.

“I don’t want to say I’m not excited, she’s fantastic; that’s not where I’m going with this,” he said, Before complimenting Rihanna on several fronts.

Then he dropped a bomb.

“There’s one thing she’s not: she ain’t Beyonce.”

Daytime talk show audiences are soft, but the tourists who stopped by Sherri are as soft as room-temp butter. When Stephen A. Said Rihanna “ain’t Beyonce,” they reacted as though he’d just defaced a young child’s prized painting.

Smith argued that he wasn’t putting Rihanna down.

“Rihanna’s music is fantastic. She’s great, she’s a sister, I love her dearly, I listen to her music. I’m going to support her until the cows come home,” he said. “I’m just telling you for me, there’s Beyonce and then there’s everybody else. Just like there’s Michael Jackson and then there’s everybody else.”

He finished by saying Rihanna would be good but just not as good as Beyonce.

Think how many takes Stephen A. has given over his career. Now, think how many have been followed up with an apology.

Not many.

To quote Maxwell Smart: Would you believe that this was one of those takes?

Stephen A. Smith promotes his book during an appearance on The Howard Stern Show. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Stephen A. Backtracked His Comments On Rihanna

Who knows why he felt compelled to apologize for saying he liked one artist better than another, but Stephen A. Smith did exactly that on Wednesday afternoon.

He recorded a video apology to the pop star, who — let’s be honest for a second — may not have even heard or cared what he said.

Smith said he saw headlines about the quote getting some heat, and decided to own it. He acknowledged he may need to be more careful with his words.

“I want Rihanna to know you’re a superstar, you’re sensational, you’re spectacular. You’re no joke and you are a worthy person to be doing Super Bowl halftime show,” Smith said on Wednesday.

Smith went on to explain that he was just answering Sherri Shepherd’s question. He explained that Beyonce, Bruno Mars, and Coldplay are his measuring stick for good halftime shows (that in and of itself is a debate for another time, but no Prince?).

“I meant it as no disrespect to Rihanna. I know she’s phenomenal and she’s my sister. Nothing but love for her, but Beyoncé is my sister, too.”

“I just think that Beyonce is the greatest performer out there today. That’s me. That doesn’t mean I’m hating on anybody else.”

It was weird that this situation drew such a groveling apology. He said he liked Beyonce more than Rihanna. So what?!

People are allowed to like whatever music they want to like without having to issue a video apology on their van ride home from the studio.

Although liking the Red Hot Chili Peppers is apology-worthy…

Just kidding…

A little…

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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