ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith learned the hard way that if you come for Rihanna, her fans are only going to give you “FourFiveSeconds” to apologize.
During an appearance Wednesday on Sherri Shepherd’s daytime talk show, Smith made a comment about the singer’s upcoming performance at the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
“There’s one thing she’s not, she ain’t Beyoncé,” said Smith, who prefaced that comment with saying Rihanna was “spectacular” and congratulating her on becoming a new mom.
When the audience reacted negatively to his comment, Smith added, “The only reason I brought up Beyoncé is because Beyoncé recently performed at the Super Bowl.”
That wasn’t enough to sooth the Navy, as Rihanna’s devout fans are known, and they went in hard on Smith on social media.
Smith then took to social media to offer a three-minute long video apology, and he tweeted, “Apologies to Rihanna for my words, gotta be more careful.”
“I’m gonna own it. I know what y’all trying to do, but I’m gonna own it because I get paid to speak for a living, so I need to be more careful,” he said in his video. “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 the Super Bowl Halftime Show.”
Smith said he’s a Beyoncé fan and thought both her 2013 solo performance and her 2016 appearance with Bruno Mars and Coldplay were two of the best Super Bowl Halftime performances he had ever seen.
“What I’m saying is anybody has to measure up to that,” Smith said.