Taylor Swift may be facing criticism for the amount of attention she receives at NFL games while supporting her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, but ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith wants those critics to know he’s in her corner.
“I have to take a moment to come to the defense of Taylor Swift,” the Stephen A. Smith Show host said while speaking Wednesday with fellow sports radio personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.
“Everybody’s sitting up there and acting like she’s some kind of impediment,” Smith said. “She did her job. That Eras Tour? Off the chain. Generated billions.”
Though Smith went on to say that there is “only one Beyoncé to me,” he’s also a fan of Swift’s and knows from personal experience that the fans who attend her shows “absolutely love her.”
“The concert was absolutely, positively phenomenal,” he said, reflecting on a show he attended as part of Swift’s “The Eras Tour.” Now, Smith said Swift is “going to support her dude.”
“To show up at a football game and the cameras are on her—that ain’t her fault,” he continued, adding that she didn’t need the extra attention to boost concert ticket sales. “Those kids were going to her concerts whether the NFL was promoting her or not. Taylor Swift is their girl. Let’s show some respect.”
Rumors of the “Cruel Summer” singer’s relationship with the NFL star began swirling last year when Swift was spotted cheering him on at Chiefs games. Before long, members of the NFL community began joking about how often cameras would pan over to Swift during the televised games she attended.
The dig popped up most recently at the 2024 Golden Globes on Sunday during one of host Jo Koy’s jokes.
“The big difference between the Golden Globes and the NFL? We have fewer camera shots of Taylor Swift,” Koy said before the camera flashed over to show where Swift was sitting in the audience. Swift’s unsmiling reaction quickly went viral and prompted a backlash against the comedian among her fans.
Though Koy initially said the comment was “cute” when asked about it during a Golden Globes after-party, he began calling it a “weird joke” the next day, saying it was “more of a jab toward the NFL” than toward Swift.