ESPN Suspends Stephen A. Smith For Blaming Ray Rice’s Wife For Provoking Violence Even Though This Is Exactly Why “First Take” Exists

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I touched on this topic briefly in the Justin Blackmon getting arrested for WEED blog, but I gotta hit on it again. As you probably know Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was given a two game suspension for literally beating his fiancé unconscious and dragging her out of an elevator. Since the incident Rice’s fiancé apparently said “fuck it” and married him anyway. She also pleaded with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to be lenient in her now husband’s punishment.

Now obviously Goodell should’ve listened to her right? I mean, after all, battered women always think rationally and NEVER try to protect their abusive husbands right? Well, apparently he was dumb enough to believe this and took them at their word because Rice got a two game suspension. You know you fucked up when the guy you’re suspending doesn’t even appeal it. Rice took his punishment and RAN. Unfortunately he was tackled two yards behind the line of scrimmage because Ray Rice really sucks now.


Every normal person out there looks at this and says, “Wow, that’s pretty fucked up that he only got two games.” Especially considering they’ve banned Blackmon and Josh Gordon for the entire season on account of WEED. The NFL clearly sent a message to all women out there – you getting the shit kicked out of you by a gigantic muscle bound man is not nearly as bad as the victimless crime of smoking marijuana.

Obviously the NFL has gotten their ass reamed for this one and rightfully so. But ESPN’s First Take Co-host Stephen A. Smith clearly didn’t get that message. Instead of ripping the NFL apart like everyone else he had this to say about women like Ray Rice’s wife:

“It’s not about him, then. It’s about you, and here’s what I mean by that. We keep talking about the guys. We know you have no business putting your hands on a woman. I don’t know how many times I got to reiterate that. But as a man who was raised by women, see I know what I’m going to do if somebody touches a female member of my family. I know what I’m going to do, I know what my boys are going to do. I know what, I’m going to have to remind myself that I work for the Worldwide Leader, I’m going to have to get law enforcement officials involved because of what I’m going to be tempted to do. But what I’ve tried to employ the female members of my family, some of who you all met and talked to and what have you, is that again, and this what, I’ve done this all my life, let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions, because if I come, or somebody else come, 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. So let’s try to make sure that we can do our part in making sure that that doesn’t happen. Now you got some dudes that are just horrible and they’re going to do it anyway, and there’s never an excuse to put your hands on a woman. But domestic violence or whatever the case may be, with men putting their hands on women, is obviously a very real, real issue in our society. And I think that just talking about what guys shouldn’t do, we got to also make sure that you can do your part to do whatever you can do to make, to try to make sure it doesn’t happen. We know they’re wrong. We know they’re criminals. We know they probably deserve to be in jail. In Ray Rice’s case, he probably deserves more than a 2-game suspension which we both acknowledged. But at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation. Not that there’s real provocation, but the elements of provocation, you got to make sure that you address them, because we’ve got to do is do what we can to try to prevent the situation from happening in any way. And I don’t think that’s broached enough, is all I’m saying. No point of blame.

Let me summarize everything Stephen A just said, because that was just a non-sensical diatribe:

Now, I’m a badass mofo. Don’t let the suit fool you. I might work for ESPN, but I’m still a bad ass. Hitting women is wrong, and since I’m a bad ass, I will beat your ass if you hit a woman. I’ll even get all my homies and boys together, since I’m ESPN’s token black guy, and we’ll give the perpetrator’s street justice. But ladies, I won’t always be there to save you. Yes, I will beat their ass afterwards, because as I already established, I’m a bad ass. But you will already have your ass beaten by then, so you have to do to your best to make sure you don’t get your ass beat first. So even if you’re not doing anything wrong, just do whatever you can to make sure you don’t provoke a man into beating your ass. Because I work at ESPN now, so I can’t be patrolling the streets anymore as the resident neighborhood bad ass.”


I still have no idea what point he was trying to make. The idea that a woman can provoke a man into beating her ass is kind of a position that you don’t wanna say out loud. Mainly because it’s moronic, but also because it’s not gonna go over very well. Clearly it didn’t and he had to issue an apology. ESPN chose not to suspend him.

Case closed right? Nope. Because in America you don’t make decisions based on what’s right and wrong. You put your finger in the air and see which way public opinion is blowing. It’s the reason Barrack Obama came out in favor of gay marriage in 2012 and not 2008. It’s the reason Kirk Minihane was suspended by WEEI. And it’s the reason ESPN decided to suspend him TODAY, instead of right after when he said it.

First of all let me just say this. It’s not his fault, it’s ESPN’s fault for provoking him. If you’ve ever seen the shitshow that is First Take you know how idiotic this show is. For me it’s one of the biggest reasons I don’t watch ESPN. I can’t watch these talking head morons argue about whether or not LeBron James should wear number 6 or 23. Can’t do it.

And they purposely picked two of the biggest blowhards in the history of television, Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, to argue about any dumb shit that they’ve been told to argue about. Is Michael Sam a distraction? Is LeBron James clutch? Should Ray Rice have beaten the shit out of his fiancé?


Skip Bayless is a joke. Everyone knows that. I don’t think there is a single person who has ever seen him that has walked away and said, “THAT fucking guy knows his stuff.” No, that’s not why he was hired. He was hired to be ridiculous. He was hired to play devil’s advocate. He was hired to be the upper middle class, out of touch white guy, whose sole purpose is to piss off the urban, “keeping it real,” “might go ghetto on yo ass” Stephen A. Smith.

ESPN brought these two together so they can argue about dumb shit that’s trending on Twitter. The Ray Rice thing was the big story so they had to talk about it. The producers designated one of them to offer some ridiculous bullshit about the whole thing, because that’s why this show exists in the first place. Stephen A’s job was to instigate, get Skippy going, and keep the ratings high.


And boy did it work. But the problem is it worked too well. Yea everyone’s talking about it but the story just won’t go away. Who would’ve thunk that domestic violence would be such a touchy subject? ESPN obviously thought they’d argue about this, and then go back to arguing about what LeBron’s best dunk ever was and everyone would forget about it.

Well, ESPN fucked up. The script backfired and they waited until enough people flipped out about it on every form of media and then they suspended Stephen A. He was their sacrificial lamb. Instead of canceling or reformatting the show, they suspended a guy who’s about to sign with Mad Dog Radio on Sirius XM anyway.

So there ya go. This is why you read Turtleboy Sports. It’s an alternative to the scripted bullshit you see on TV. We’re a feminist family blog, and obviously we’re on the right side of this whole thing. Because, there is no other side. Beating up women is a defenseless position to have. Obviously.

Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.

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2 Comment(s)
  • July 30, 2014 at 1:55 am

    Blackmon has been praised by his family and friends as a very standup guy and hometown hero. His issue is clearly deeper than “wanting to party.” He is currently in rehab and has not contacted any press or teammates for that matter until he is confident his issue is beaten. @SUL

    In the case of this actual article, I find it a little funny (or ironic?) that a reporter making a comment about abuse gets more punishment than a player actually abusing his wife….

  • SUL
    July 30, 2014 at 1:17 am

    I think your still missing the point on Blackmon. He has 2 oui (alcohol) arrests, he’s been arrested multiple times for posession of weed, and he’s failed multiple drug tests. He’s lucky he hasn’t killed someone, he obviously has no regard for his career, he’s an addict. That is y he’ll never play another NFL snap

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