After making cutting comments last Friday on ESPN’s “First Take” involving the domestic abuse incident between Baltimore Raven’s running back Ray Rice and his now-wife Janay Palmer, the sports network took action against one of its own, Stephen A. Smith. The controversial sports analyst noted that Palmer could have prevented her attack. He was referring, of course, to the much publicized video which captured Rice dragging his-then-fiancee out of an elevator, having apparently rendered her unconscious.
Smith went on to say, “What I’ve tried to employ [with] the female members of my family – some of who you all met and talked to and what have you – is that …let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions, because if I come – or somebody else comes, 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.”
That was Friday. The following Monday, Smith issued an on-air apology. “On Friday, speaking right here on “First Take” on the subject of domestic violence, I made what can only amount to the most egregious error of my career. My words came across that it is somehow a woman’s fault. This was not my intent. It is not what was trying to say,” he said.
Nevertheless, ESPN President John Skipper came out with an announcement of his own. “We’ve said publicly and in this space that those remarks did not reflect our company’s point of view, or our values,” Skipper said. “They certainly don’t reflect my personal beliefs.”
With that said, Smith was put on suspension until August 6. Smith is no stranger to backlash. In fact, Smith is so naturally outspoken and audiences are so accustomed to his outspokenness until nothing he says really comes as a jolt to the system. This time droves of people sparked by outrage took to twitter to criticize his remarks including fellow ESPN reporter Michelle Beadle.
However, not everyone was incensed by the 46-year-old native New Yorker’s vocal opinion. “The View’s” host Whoopi Goldberg recently came to his defense stating, “Now some people are outraged, and let me just point out that the comment that he made was based on what the young lady said she did. I’m sorry, if you hit somebody, you cannot be sure you are not going to get hit back,” Goldberg persisted. “I know I’m going to catch a lot of heel, and I don’t care. You hit somebody, they hit you back! Don’t be surprised!”
Also on Monday, Rice received applause galore as the crowd treated him to a standing ovation during practice on the field. Life is interesting.