He's standing up for himself!
Nearly two years after his near-fatal drug overdose at a brothel in Nevada, Lamar Odom is doing his best to control his drug addiction while also becoming an advocate for spreading awareness about the dangers of the disease. But when ESPN host Stephen A. Smith decided to joke about Lamar's struggle with addiction, he couldn't stay quiet.
The 37-year-old took to Twitter to post a letter written by his lawyer Saam Zangeneh that defended his client and called for the network to be more sensitive about the issue of drug use in sports, especially among young athletes.
During a segment on First Take earlier this week, Stephen was complaining about the President of the New York Knicks Phil Jackson and his decision to sign Lamar Odom to the team in 2014 even though he had a history of drug use.
“His very first move as executive was to sign Lamar Odom — who was on crack!" Stephen said.
In his statement, Saam clarified that Lamar was cleared on his medical and physical tests before he joined the team and he explained how Stephen's comments made a joke about addiction, which is defined as a chronic brain disease by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
“Let us look at what this statement does, not only to Lamar, but to any and all professional athletes that are struggling with addiction," Saam wrote in his statement.
— LAMAR ODOM (@RealLamarOdom) June 23, 2017
“Mr. Smith chose to jokingly disparage Lamar for having a disease. Mr. Smith chose to shout out the fact that Lamar was sick, and to use his disease as the butt of a joke," the statement continued. "To say that his conduct was outrageous and unacceptable does not scratch the surface. Think about the others that are battling addiction. Those that have not had the strength or opportunity to share their struggle like Lamar. Imagine the effect this grotesque statement would have on any young athlete who is privately fighting this disease. To become the punch line of a vulgar joke.”
Shortly after Lamar shared his statement, Stephen responded and even though he didn't necessarily apologize, he clarified that he did not mean to make light of Lamar's addiction with his comment.
"My comments were NOT to put any more focus on Lamar Odom's much-publicized drug use and addiction," he said in a statement obtained by Us Weekly.