[guest post by Dana]
I’ve been meaning to blog about this as it raises a number of interesting questions, but I’ll just focus one aspect of the sordid mess.
In a video that recently went viral, NFL Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was shown dragging his seemingly unconscious then-fiancee out of an elevator in an Atlantic City casino. According to police, this was just moments after they attacked each other and he struck her with his hand.
Rice is 5’8″ tall and 218 lbs.
Last week, the NFL commissioner announced Rice would be suspended from two games and fined $529,411.24 as a result of his offseason arrest for domestic violence.
Enter sports commentator Stephen A. Smith, who found himself in deep water for his comments:
“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.”
Smith apologized this week for what he referred to as most egregious error of my career and sought to reassure that he was not blaming women for domestic abuse:
My words came across that it is somehow a woman’s fault. This was not my intent. It is not what I was trying to say. Yet the failure to clearly articulate something different lies squarely on my shoulders.
Apparently, it wasn’t enough for ESPN who suspended him from TV and radio for one week.
Interestingly, Whoopi-it’s-not-rape-rape-Goldberg defended Smith on ABC’s The View:
“Now some people are outraged, and let me just point out,” Whoopi began, “that the comment that he [Smith] made was based on what the young lady said she did.”
Goldberg’s co-hosts were quick to counter, saying that there is no reason for a man to hit a woman “unless his life is in jeopardy.”
“I’m sorry, if you hit somebody, you cannot be sure you are not going to get hit back,” Goldberg persisted.
“You have to teach women, ‘Do not put your hands on anybody.”
“I know I’m going to catch a lot of hell, and I don’t care,” Goldberg continued. “You hit somebody, they hit you back! Don’t be surprised!”
Responding to push back from her co-hosts who accused her of blaming the victim, Goldberg denied it, saying:
“If you make the choice as a woman who’s four foot three and you decide to hit a guy who’s six feet tall and you’re the last thing he wants to deal with that day and he hits you back, you cannot be surprised!”
Coincidentally, both ESPN and ABC are owned by the Walt Disney Company.