It’s ironic that society is able to determine what we are and are not so critical on. ESPN took a strong stance against their, ESPN First Take, commentator Stephen A. Smith, who failed to articulate in a tasteful manner his opinion on Domestic Violence. In fact, he used abuse trigger word ‘provoke’ several times during his reckless comments and boy was the fight on after that, and for good reason. His comments came across as chauvinistic and insensitive. I’ll get to how I interpreted them, in a bit.
ESPN’s nerves of steel handed Stephen A. Smith a week-long suspension, much longer than it took the NFL to mull over their decision to suspend the Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice, for a measly 2-game suspension. Gee thanks signed all the Domestic Violence victims and their families! That sent a huge slap in the face message. Ray wants each of you to know, “No football game or no money was gonna determine what I have to live with for the rest of my life… it hurts because I can’t go out there and play football, but it hurts more that I got to be a father and explain what happened to my daughter.” Please allow me to remind you and the NFL that Mr. Rice committed the heinous act against his then fiancé, now spouse. He drug her unconscious body through an Atlantic City casino in February. It’s mind-blowing that Stephen refers to his comments as, ‘the most egregious mistake’ he has made in his career as a commentator and shows remorse for his action; however, the truth be told, the egregious mistake was that of Ray Rice putting his hands on his fiancé and dragging her through the casino for the world to see over and over again. The most he could finally conjure up to articulate was, “my actions were inexcusable. I needed help.” Ya think? He wants the public to know that he “never planned to appeal any kind of punishment.” Sir, the mini vacay you received is nothing in comparison to the punishment players are handed for violating the team substance abuse policy. While I don’t condone drug use, I don’t believe I’m alone in saying some would rather take a player high on weed than one bashing his ‘loved ones’ head in. I’m just saying.
She will never outlive that memory. While she may have not been present in the moment to feel it, it will forever play on social media, youtube, television, google, etc. It looks like she’s forgiven her abuser and accepted her responsibility in the incident, but I pray for her and their relationship. There’s nothing like two dysfunctional people becoming one. The NFL truly missed the mark here and this was their time to take the nerve of steel stance that ESPN displayed in suspending Stephen A Smith, over words. The very least the NFL could’ve done is to impose a 6 game suspension, 1 year community service with Domestic Violence related initiatives, His game salary go to Domestic Violence organizations, and for him to go to ongoing counseling for his ‘real’ issue.
Now, for my interpretation of Stephen A.’s remarks. Don’t shoot me and allow me to say I’m 100% against a man lifting a finger towards a woman, but here’s my take on things. (The very reason I said he failed to articulate in a manner that was sensitive to the matter at hand)
While I wholeheartedly believe that there’s absolutely no word spoken that a woman should be able to say to set a man off to that degree, I see exactly where he was ATTEMPTING to go and failed miserably at getting to. He simply missed the mark. At an early age, my sister and I were told, by our Father (he lived in the home and was/is still very active in our lives), to not put ourselves in a man’s position. What my Dad’s message conveyed was a man who is our protector and provider, saving us from someone who doesn’t care to do either and chooses to bring us harm. He wanted to send the message that should we place ourselves in a man’s position and put our hands on him or bring bodily harm to him, our Dad couldn’t choose how the man would act in response to us. He not once stated that we would be provoking him, but merely that the man may not posses the self-restraint it requires of a man to walk away or he may have been raised in environment that called for him to react in a violent manner. Because of all the numerous variables, our Dad deemed it best for us to now even ‘go there.’ We also knew that if we hadn’t uttered a single word and a man began to be controlling or display signs of abuse, we were to hit the panic button and get the hell out of dodge. Again, there’s nothing she or any other victim has done wrong to ‘provoke’ a man to be upset on such a grand scale. Ray Rice and the other idiots who choose to abuse women are just dead wrong!
I truly believe this is what Stephen A. was making a valiant effort in articulating, but for some reason he didn’t dig deep to find empathy for this victim, nor exercise his right to remain silent! My Grandmother always said, ‘Eb, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t’ say it at all!’ THIS is one of those times Stephen A. should have elected silence. I’m disgusted at the NFL’s decision to lackadaisically handle this situation and I pray that this is the last we hear of Ray Rice and his anger binge. I hope both he and his wife are seeking guidance from not only the clinical psychologist, but from the one who sees and knows all. Ladies, please remember love has nothing to do with it! At the end of the day, I am a firm believer that you can’t hit someone you respect and love!
Stephen A. will be back tomorrow and I’m rather curious how everyone will react to his return back to the set. Will he continue to apologize for his comments or accept that he’s completed his punishment and move forward? I personally hope it’s the later. I want to hear from Ray on all the wonderful things he’s going to do to shed light on domestic violence and his own personal growth. Don’t worry I’ll wait since the NFL left it up to him.