“You better be careful what you say to me,” is what came to my mind when I heard ESPN’s First Take pundit, Stephen A. Smith was suspended for a week after his remarks about domestic violence involving the Ray Rice situation. It almost seems like Stephen A caught more backlash from social media then the actual perpetrator himself, Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice. As Rice was greeted with support from Raven’s coach John Harbaugh and fans at training camp; Mr. Smith’s name and career continues to be dragged throughout the press as if he was in the elevator that night in Atlantic City. Stephen A. has been no stranger to controversy in his days at ESPN. Just a month ago, Smith was lambasted by the African-American community for his siding with Dallas Maverick’s owner, Mark Cuban, and his comments regarding the issue of race. Smith was also accused in the blogs and social media, for dropping the nefarious five letter word on air that is often found in the lyrics of hip-hop artists (a claim Smith has repeatedly denied) back in 2012. This time however, Smith has seemly backed himself into a corner by the mere mention of one word: “provoke.” As Stephen A. continued to expound on his point about domestic violence, a colleague of his, Michelle Beadle, expressed her disgust on Twitter:
“I’m thinking about wearing a miniskirt this weekend…I’d hate to think what I’d be asking for by doing so @stephenasmith. #dontprovoke”
-Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) July 25, 2014
Beadle, who is a co-host on ESPN2’s show SportsNation, revealed that she was once a victim of domestic abuse also added in her response: “Violence isn’t the victim’s issue. It’s the abuser’s. To insinuate otherwise is irresponsible and disgusting. Walk away.” On Monday’s First Take show, Stephen A. issued an apology to Beadle and others who felt like his words were ‘inappropriate’ and that he could have articulated himself better. If having to retract his original statement wasn’t bad enough, ESPN decided to take it a step further by suspending Mr. Smith for a week for comments that “didn’t reflect the views of the company.”
Really? Or in my Skip Bayless voice, “Are you kidding me?”
Before I let it be known why I find ESPN’s handling of this whole situation “hypocritical,” allow me preface my comments (as Stephen A would say) by saying I’ve been an avid supporter of the show-even back to its days when it was called Cold Pizza. The comments that were made by Stephen A. about domestic violence, has definitely been broached before on First Take. One could only remember the train wreck of what was called a “marriage” between former NFL star Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, and Basketball Wives reality star, Evelyn Lozada. Johnson, (who would be later charged with domestic abuse) was the topic of discussion circling around his then current team, the Miami Dolphins, who would later go on to sever its ties with Johnson following his domestic incident with Lozada. As with all things First Take, Stephen A., Skip Bayless, and then moderator, Jemele Hill, decided to discuss the turmoil that surrounded Chad Johnson. Here is an excerpt from what Stephen A said during the show:
“I have been on the record on national television and radio; you don’t have no business putting your hands on a woman. You put your hands on a woman you deserve the price that comes along with that. I have never put my hands on a woman; you shouldn’t have to put your hands on a woman, walk away. I’ve said that. But, there are plenty of instances where provocation comes into consideration, instigation comes into consideration …”
To see more, go to this link here:
Notice how the word “provocation” is uttered by Smith just like it was voiced by him on last Friday’s show. There was no recant. There was no contrived apology given. As a matter of fact, Smith wasn’t even reprimanded by the fine executives at ESPN. Now some of y’all will give the excuse, “That was different and Evelyn has a history of being confrontational and aggressive.” Be that as it may, it only highlights what Stephen A. was trying to vocalize when he said the word provoke. In no way was he “insinuating” that it was okay for a man to put his hands on a woman. On the contrary, just as he believes it’s not okay for a man to hit a woman; he is also tried of the men being vilified in such cases and we don’t ever scrutinize the woman’s role in a domestic dispute. Such is true in the case with Ray Rice, who’s now wife, Janay Rice, admitted she played a role (by hitting him) in her ultimately being assaulted. Of course no one knows the full details of the entire incident, however, I believe Stephen A’s point was that in some (definitely not all) instances it’s not always the man being the aggressor or antagonist. Maybe Stephen A. knows what psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Bates has already concluded when it comes to intimate relationships: women tend to be more aggressive and controlling than their male counterparts (
Now this leads me to one Michelle Beadle. I completely understand her overall point about domestic violence and how wrong it is for men to abuse women. I get that. However, I remember ANOTHER fellow ESPN colleague who at one time decided to voice his displeasure on Twitter about a certain segment he viewed on First Take. That person is one Bill Simmons. While conducting an interview with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, Simmons decided to loathe his feelings about the interview on Twitter:
“It’s amazing to me that people get so worked up about First Take. Who cares? Just don’t watch it. There are like 800 TV channels.”
-Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) March 8, 2013
This and several other comments were made by Simmons on Twitter following the heated debate between Skip Bayless and Richard Sherman; which at one point Sherman replied “I’m better in life than you.” Simmons would go on to be suspended by ESPN (suspended from Twitter that is) for violation to their social media guidelines policy; a policy, that has somehow eluded Michelle Beadle’s disciplinary profile. I’m not C&C Music Factory, but this definitely rates as one of those things that make you go “Hmm.”
As this week comes to an end, there are new reports circulating that Stephen A. is STILL apologizing saying it’s the “most egregious error of his career.” All of this after doing what he is paid to do; give a daggone opinion!! I find it also telling that many people in the black community (yes, even black women) actually agree with Stephen A. when comes to men and WOMEN putting their hands on each other. Even daytime talk show host Whoopi Goldberg of The View, has sided with Stephen A. in reference to what he was trying to convey:
“Let me just point out the comment that he (Stephen A.) made is based on what the young lady said SHE did. Let me just make that clear to y’all (audience). She said ‘I hit him,’ and I believe that’s what Stephen A. was pointing to…”
To see more, go to this link: (
Let’s not get it twisted people; domestic violence is wrong on all fronts. I just find it deplorable that we live in a society of double standards. Yes that same double standard that allows women to procreate with men and receives assistance from the system, (because she’s not financially able to take care of the child) that turns around and puts a man in the system if he can’t provide. I’m not making light of, or ignoring any woman who has truly been a victim of domestic violence; nor the ones who are involved in an abusive relationship now. What I am saying is if there is going to be an open discussion about domestic violence; let’s look at it from both perspectives, instead of it being one-sided ending with “that’s all folks.” No, that is not all, and until we as a society learn to understand each other better both humanistically and culturally, we’re going to continue to have biased, disingenuous conversations. An honest discussion is what Stephen A. was trying to have, but was punished; for what Michelle Beadle was allowed to do and was commended, despite breaching company policy. It also goes to show you that America STILL isn’t ready for honest discourse when the speaker just happens to be a black man. That is, unless their (A) bought off and controlled to fit a politicized agenda or (B) he is vouched for or validated by: the African-American woman. See, America only values the thoughts and opinions of the African-American community from the perspective of the African-American woman. So while I do value Ms. Goldberg’s input and support; Stephen A’s original statement or the word “provoke,” should not have hurt more than Ray Rice’s actual abuse to his wife. So in the words of another (now former) ESPN colleague, Rob Parker: “NO WAY, NO HOW!”

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  1. Well,America is f****ing RETARDED,basically,so it doesn’t value AYONE’S OPINION if (s)he’s intelligent.(I’ve got a 160 IQ and am cover boy handsome;why do you think I’ve never gooten a sports talk show?Oh,yes;I think (c)rap SUCKS,I don’t kiss hip-hopers’ or reactionary white p***ks’ a**;and since they love sycophants with 84 IQs,that eliminates me from consideration.)


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