Stephen A. Smith Tries To Clarify His Comments About Women 'Provoking' Men Into Abuse, Just Says Same Thing Again

  • Eric Goldschein

Surprise, surprise — someone on ESPN’s “First Take” said something inflammatory and ridiculous. Usually (as in, maybe 60 percent of the time), this is Skip Bayless’ territory. But Bayless was a mere cheerleader today as colleague Stephen A. Smith got himself into a world of shit with his comments regarding domestic abuse.

The sports world is buzzing over the news that Ray Rice got a mere two-game suspension for punching out his fiance — a metaphorical slap in the face to women everywhere. It’s clear that the league views violence against women as something to pay lip service to — if the 16-game suspension for weed-smoking Josh Gordon, as just one example, is any indication.

How does Smith view this disturbing topic? This clip shows him ranting for about two minutes on the subject, and in a very roundabout way, he argues that women can “provoke” attacks. Watch:

Here’s the most salient bit, via FTW (emphasis ours):

“But what I’ve tried to employ the female members of my family, some of who you all met and talked to and what have you, is that again, and this what, I’ve done this all my life, let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions, because if I come, or somebody else come, whether it’s law enforcement officials, your brother or the fellas that you know, if we come after somebody has put their hands on you, it doesn’t negate the fact that they already put their hands on you. So let’s try to make sure that we can do our part in making sure that that doesn’t happen.”

There was quite a bit of rambling here, but Smith’s basic point is that women play an active role in their own abuse. They need to watch what they say, or do, in order to minimize the opportunities men will have to take offense and strike them. It’s something only a man who says incendiary things on TV for a living could come up with.

Fellow ESPN personality Michelle Beadle, among others, took to Twitter to voice her thoughts on the clip:

Smith, whose head must have popped out of the “First Take” bubble long enough to realize he had offended people, tried to clarify his remarks on Twitter. He ended up making the exact same argument. It’s almost as if he was transcribing the above video and shortening it for the medium:

So, to be clear: Stephen A. Smith thinks you should never hit a woman. But if a woman is hit, which she should never be, we have to ask, how could she have prevented it? (You mean, besides not existing at all?) Which seems to be exactly what he said on TV earlier.

And by the way, he apologies to women like Beadle who “misconstrued” what he said.

When is Smith going to just admit he was wrong, like a normal person?