Stephen A. Smith is expected to further explain his views about domestic violence Monday morning, a day after it was noted that he made similar comments two years ago and after news broke that he may be parting with ESPN, at least as far as the radio portion of his job goes.
Smith, who created a media storm when he questioned the role of women in domestic violence in the aftermath of the NFL’s two-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, will attempt to speak more clearly on his views Monday. While he’s at it, he might revisit a 2013 Floyd Mayweather Jr. interview unearthed by The Big Lead or his 2012 comments about provocation after Chad Johnson was arrested in a domestic incident with his then-wife, Evelyn Lozada. Johnson was arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery, and Deadspin dug up video (see it here) of Smith’s commentary then:
There are plenty of instances where provocation comes into consideration, instigation comes into consideration, and I will be on the record right here on national television and say that I am sick and tired of men constantly being vilified and accused of things and we stop there. I’m saying, “Can we go a step further?” Since we want to dig all deeper into Chad Johnson, can we dig in deep to her?
So it probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise when he made his comments on the two-game suspension Rice received.
On “First Take,” Smith noted that men “have no business putting [their] hands on a woman” but implied that women sometimes are provocateurs. He was quickly called out on Twitter by colleague Michelle Beadle, who wrote: “A) I’ll never feel clean again B) I’m now aware that I can provoke my own beating.”
On Friday, Smith was apologizing on Twitter:
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.
ESPN promised Sunday that it would “have more to say on Monday as well.” Meanwhile, he may be moving from ESPN 98.7 to the unfettered airwaves of Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Radio, Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News reports.
This comes after Chris “Mad Dog” Russo last spring lamented his inability to find a black host “worthy of doing a national [sports] talk [radio] show,” Raissman points out. Smith will get that chance with Mad Dog, leaving the 1-3 p.m. show he co-hosts with Ryan Ruocco on 98.7. An unfiltered Smith would be interesting, as Raissman noted:
Still, the idea of Smith working freestyle in the uncensored world of satellite radio is fascinating. SAS has gone right up to the line, and sometimes crossed it, as he did on Friday on ESPN’s “First Take” when he went on a rant concerning Ray Rice’s two-game suspension and implied some women should be blamed for domestic violence.
How much further will he push it working without a seatbelt on “MDR?”