Stephen A. Smith Issues Apology to Rihanna for Controversial Super Bowl Halftime Show Comments

Stephen A. Smith took a lot of heat for his comments about Rihanna performing at this year's Super Bowl halftime show. The ESPN personality appeared on The Sherri Show on Wednesday and shared his thoughts on the upcoming halftime performance. Smith made it clear that he loves Rihanna but showed more love to a 28-time Grammy winner. 

"Ladies and gentlemen, [Rihanna is] a lot of things. She's spectacular actually and congratulations on new mamahood. There's one thing she's not — she ain't Beyoncé," Smith told host Sherri Shepherd, per TMZ Sports. Smith also said, "Rihanna's music is fantastic. She's great. She's a sister. I love her dearly, I listen to her music, I'm gonna support her 'til the cows come home. I'm just telling you, for me, there's Beyoncé and there's everybody else. Just like there's Michael Jackson and there's everybody else."

On Wednesday, TMZ Sports obtained a video that shows Smith apologizing to Rihanna. "I want Rihanna to know you're a superstar, you're sensational, you're spectacular," he said. "You're no joke and you are a worthy person to be doing Super Bowl halftime show." Smith also noted that Beyoncé's performance at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2013 was so great that anyone else who does the will "have to measure up to that." He ended the video by issuing an apology and is looking forward to Rihanna's performance at Super Bowl LVII. 

Beyoncé's Super Bowl halftime show was well-received by fans as Rolling Stone ranked it the third-best Super Bowl halftime performance of all time. The two shows that are ranked ahead of Beyoncé are U2 (2002) and Prince (2007). Last year, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar performed, and the show is ranked No. 4 on Rolling Stone's list.

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Rihanna is one of the most successful artists of all time as she's been nominated for 33 Grammys and won nine of them. She has released eight studio albums and all of them have made the top 10 of Billboard's top 200 charts. Her Super Bowl performance will take place at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on Feb. 12.