ESPN’s First Take stars two rather polorizing sports figures–Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless. That theory was proven once again during a recent show.
What Smith and Bayless essentially do on the show is talk about/debate whatever the controversy of the day is in sports. During the program in question the two were talking about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice just being suspended for two games for assaulting his then-fiance, but now wife.
The general consensus in the public is that the NFL is sending the wrong message to the world by only suspending him for two games when a first time drug offense willl get you a four-game suspension. In discussing his take on domestic violence Smith made some comments that many took as him blaming women for provoking men.
“Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions,” Smith said. “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.”
One of the first to respond was a fellow ESPN personality, Michelle Beadle who quickly bashed Smith for insinuating that woman sometimes ask for it:
“I was in an abusive relationship once. I’m aware that men & women can both be the abuser. To spread the message that we not ‘provoke’ is wrong … Violence isn’t the victim’s issue. It’s the abuser’s. To insinuate otherwise is irresponsible and disgusting. Walk. Away.”
Smith initially defended what he said while apologizing for the misconception that others like Beadle took from his comments, but eventually released a statement taking responsibility for his comments:
My series of tweets a short time ago is not an adequate way to capture my thoughts so I am using a single tweet via Twitlonger to more appropriately and effectively clarify my remarks from earlier today about the Ray Rice situation. I completely recognize the sensitivity of the issues and the confusion and disgust that my comments caused. First off, as I said earlier and I want to reiterate strongly, it is never OK to put your hands on a women. Ever. I understand why that important point was lost in my other comments, which did not come out as I intended. I want to state very clearly. I do NOT believe a woman provokes the horrible domestic abuses that are sadly such a major problem in our society. I wasn’t trying to say that or even imply it when I was discussing my own personal upbringing and the important role the women in my family have played in my life. I understand why my comments could be taken another way. I should have done a better job articulating my thoughts and I sincerely apologize.