Rihanna’s fans made it known they go “so hard” for their idol after they turned the heat up on ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith for comments he made about the Barbadian singer’s upcoming Super Bowl performance.
According to CNN, Smith made those comments during an appearance on Sherri Shepherd’s daytime talk show on Wednesday. When he was asked if he was excited about Rihanna’s upcoming performance at the Super Bowl halftime show, the 55-year-old started by describing the award-winning singer as “spectacular” and congratulating her on the birth of her son. But the ESPN analyst followed that up by saying, “There’s one thing she’s not, she ain’t Beyoncé.”
His sentiments, however, did not go down well with the audience. So Smith attempted to clarify, saying, “The only reason I brought up Beyoncé is because Beyoncé recently performed at the Super Bowl.”
But it appeared the “damage” had already been done as Rihanna’s fans – known as the Navy – hounded him on social media. In the wake of the hullabaloo, Smith attempted to calm the waters by rendering an apology to Rihanna in a three-minute video he posted on his Twitter page.
“Apologies to Rihanna for my words, gotta be more careful!” Smith captioned. “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,” the ESPN analyst said in the 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 also said he was a fan of Beyoncé, adding two of his favorite Super Bowl halftime shows were her solo performance in 2013 as well as her 2016 performance with Bruno Mars and Coldplay.
“What I’m saying is anybody has to measure up to that,” Smith added.