ESPN NBA broadcaster Mark Jones raised eyebrows on Monday when he liked a video on Twitter that blasted his colleague Stephen A. Smith, using a racial epithet for defending Dallas Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones.
Bishop Talbert Swan used a video of dancing raccoons to describe Smith’s defense of Jones, which came Friday on “First Take.” Smith said Jones did not “deserve” to be dragged through the mud after a photo showed he was with students trying to keep an Arkansas school segregated in 1957. Jones was in his teens at the time.
ESPN sports announcer and analyst Doris Burke, left, and sportscaster Mark Jones pose before calling a game during the 2022 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 9, 2022 in Las Vegas.
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
By early Tuesday morning, Jones had un-liked the tweet, but it had already been screenshotted on social media.
ESPN declined to comment.
Jones was in the crowd consisting of White students attempting to deny access to six Black students at North Little Rock High School. The event occurred just a few weeks before the Little Rock Nine integrated Little Rock Central High School less than five miles away in what turned out to be one of the biggest moments of the civil rights movement.
Jones has acknowledged that it is him in the photograph, but he says he did not participate in protesting the integration and looked on curiously without animosity.
ESPN broadcaster Mark Jones during the NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles Mar. 23, 2022.
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
“I don’t know that I or anybody anticipated or had a background of knowing … what was involved,” Jones, now 80, told The Washington Post. “It was more a curious thing.”
Stephen A. Smith during an interview on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022.
(Paula Lobo/NBC via Getty Images)
Jones has previously caused a stir on social media in the past. He mocked UFC fighter Colby Covington for suffering a broken jaw because he supported Donald Trump and had fun at the expense of San Francisco 49ers star Nick Bosa after he suffered a torn ACL. Bosa also supported Trump.
Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report.