Stephen A. Smith Apologizes on Domestic Violence Advice after Media Pig Pile

Stephen A. Smith Apologizes on Domestic Violence Advice after Media Pig Pile

Stephen A. Smith starts conversations for a living. On Friday’s First Take, he started a shouting match.

Talking domestic violence in the wake of the NFL’s two-game suspension of Ravens running back Ray Rice, the ESPN host called abusers “wrong” and “criminal” and deserving of “jail.” He then said women should avoid provoking men. “Just talking about what guys shouldn’t do,” the multimedia tour de force declared, “we’ve got to also make sure that you can do your part.”

“What I have tried to implore the female members of my family,” Smith divulged, is to tell them “Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions…. 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.” 

Then all hell broke loose. Smith’s ESPN colleague Michelle Beadle unleashed a barrage of tweets:

The pile on had begun. Chris Chase at USA Today called Smith’s remarks “offensive”–at least his headline writer did–“tone deaf,” and betraying “a complete lack of nuance.” The Boston Globe‘s Robert Scalese opined, “It’s as though Smith has no control of his own mouth, vomiting out the ridiculous and then trying to backpedal while restating his thesis.”

Smith initially doubled down on his advice in a series of tweets. But inevitably, by Friday’s end, Stephen A. uncharacteristically tapped out. “I completely recognize the sensitivity of the issues and the confusion and disgust that my comments caused,” Smith wrote. After several lines of ‘splaining, First Take‘s co-host typed the words his hydra-headed pursuer yearned for: “I should have done a better job articulating my thoughts and I sincerely apologize.”