In the most recent issue of ESPN: The Magazine , 15-year sports journalism veteran Stephen A. Smith responds to the torrent of hate mail he received following his inaugural column for the magazine. The basic thrust of the criticisms is that Smith is an angry black man who doesn't understand any sport besides basketball. Smith defends the work he put in to earn his byline: "See, contrary to popular belief, ESPN didn't hand me the privilege of working here overnight. That opportunity arrived after years of blood, sweat and tears. A lot of people choose to ignore this. Fine! Especially now that I've got the last word. Or the last word of the first round, anyway." His column is immediately followed in the magazine by a story on the Buffalo Bills authored by a young up-and-comer named Luke Russert. Sigh.