Patterico's Pontifications


Domestic Abuse, Stephen, Whoopi And The Whole Sordid Mess

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:32 pm

[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.

The two-game suspension raised the ire of women, and the NFL treating domestic abuse on a par with possessing marijuana didn’t do them any favors, either.

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.


53 Responses to “Domestic Abuse, Stephen, Whoopi And The Whole Sordid Mess”

  1. Lowlifes do what lowlifes do. Nothing for decent people to see here.

    nk (dbc370)

  2. No matter how badly everything else is going, we Americans are the world’s leaders in expressing self-righteous outrage. I never thought I would see the day when we surpassed the Western Europeans, but here we are. Yay, U.S.A.

    JVW (feb406)

  3. There’s nothing better than a good, solid, well reasoned, well articulated position statement, Stephen Smith. Too bad you missed that boat.

    elissa (b9af8b)

  4. I have to say that this is the first time I have agreed with Whoopi on anything. If we tell men over and over that they have no reason to ever hit a woman, shouldn’t we be telling women that they should never hit men?

    Wyfaggro (ded90f)

  5. Stephen A. is so full it. He is protecting his meal ticket, athletes.

    mg (31009b)

  6. Smith is paid to give his opinion, right? So he was suspended for doing his job.

    aunursa (932331)

  7. experienced whoopi
    punch drunk

    mg (31009b)

  8. The liberals war on women that never gets to the publics mind.
    people suck.

    mg (31009b)

  9. It is possible for outside influences to cause you to do something wrong. That doesn’t mean you’re not responsible for your actions; you are. You, alone, are responsible for your actions. And the outside influence is responsible for that influence causing you to do that wrong thing.

    If Joe beats Jim to a pulp, that’s totally on Joe.
    If Jim’s mouth was running incessantly, Jim is the cause of Joe’s actions. Jim could have prevented it by not running his mouth. But Joe is still responsible for his actions.

    So, both Whoopie and Stephen A are right.

    John Hitchcock (0aacaf)

  10. Bytch set him up.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  11. My brother-in-law punched my sister once. He out weighed her by probably 100lbs and was pretty much all muscle. The men in my family beat him bloody. He never hit her again. However, I know from experience just how sharp my sister’s tongue could be and she was just about the meanest bitch in the world when she got going. It takes a very strong personality NOT to want to punch her. Some times, people instigate a situation with the wrong person and pay a high price for it. And sometimes, they deserve what they get. My sister deserved every bit of what she got, but so did her husband.

    Short version, some men are A**H***s and abusive. They deserve the harshest punishment that can be dished out. Some women are A**h***s and deserve what they get. When that happens, they were both A**h***s and deserve what ever punishment comes their way.

    Keep a civil tongue and walk away. No good can come from losing control of your temper.

    Easy Target (3e5d1d)

  12. I can’t help but snicker when stories like this one — and its cast of characters, pro and con — can be placed against the backdrop of the US during its Nidal-Hasan era of American history. Or a moment in time when the proverbial inmates are running the proverbial asylum.

    Mark (2604a9)

  13. “Don’t tease the animals.”
    Why is that such a hard concept?
    Why should women be immune from it?

    “Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.”
    Why is that such a hard concept?
    Why should women be immune from that?

    This is more of the usual feminist double standard drivel.
    If women are special and immune to physical rebuke then they can keep their mouths shut and their hands at their sides at appropriate times.
    If women are equal, then they are subject to verbal and even physical rebuke when they run their mouths and swing their hands.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  14. Yet we’re going to send women into ground combat.

    There’s a certain symmetry, I suppose. Since we’re no longer in the business of winning wars. Just ending them. What’s going to be our follow on move. Appeal to the ICC when ISIS commits domestic violence against our soldiers? Perhaps have the student government convict them of promoting “rape culture?”

    The foregoing was in no way intended as a criticism of women.

    Can we get it together? Either we have gender neutral rules for violence or we don’t.

    Steve57 (7f8e80)

  15. I see people here and elsewhere in the media conflating two very different scenarios:
    1. She was running her mouth and saying some very mean things, so he lost it and hit her.
    2. She hit him and he hit her back. He is way bigger and stronger than she is.

    There is no excuse for #1. Yes, it is a smart move if you see that you are getting under someone’s skin to stop pushing because they might very well go off. But still, if you are the one being taunted, that is no excuse to use violence. Adults are expected to be able to control themselves.

    On the other hand, if you hit someone, whether you are male or female, and whether the other party is male or female, expect the other party to defend themselves. Nobody is required to play the punching bag. Even if you are a small woman and you hit a big strong man, you have no right to expect that you will not get something back in return.

    Anon Y. Mous (8ec442)

  16. This is the reason there are no trolls in real life.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  17. Kevin, I don’t fully understand what you are saying.

    Steve57 (7f8e80)

  18. Anon, I think you might have been considering my scenario.

    Your 1. is where I am at with the scenario (while not saying that’s what this kerfuffle is over). If she runs her mouth, she should expect a physical retaliation. And if he retaliates physically, he’s completely responsible for his actions. But she is not guiltless, either.

    It’s not a divvying up of a finite pie. He can be 100 percent responsible for his actions, and she can also be 100 percent responsible for her fate, at the same time. And no, that’s not excusing violence. Big mouths get hurt. Violent people tend to be violent. And placing all the guilt on one party while holding the other party blameless is foolish.

    John Hitchcock (0aacaf)

  19. When I lie dying, I hope I’ll be able to remember that I never hit a woman who wasn’t trying to kill me.

    Bob Ellison (03183f)

  20. 19. When I lie dying, I hope I’ll be able to remember that I never hit a woman who wasn’t trying to kill me.

    Bob Ellison (03183f) — 7/31/2014 @ 4:27 am

    Me too.I also don’t want to have murdering a man weighing on my conscience.

    I’m just trying to get my signals straight. In the name of gender equality and all.

    Steve57 (0ff9ec)

  21. That Michelle Beadle (?) talking head from ESPN lit into SAS after this. The tolerance brigade has since aimed their tolerance at her.

    JD (bc4a34)

  22. Like the OJ trial and verdict did several decades ago, this episode with all its component parts is exposing some cultural differences and behavior variances within society that stay buried much of the time. When they do pop out into the public realm we don’t quite know what to do with them or how to explain them, or how to use them to teach because both the language and the visuals are too fraught. I’ll weigh in only to observe that whatever went on before or later, the video of a woman being dragged by her hair is the visual that kids and sports fans are seeing and will remember.

    elissa (b9af8b)

  23. I have never been comfortable with the “your right to swing your fist ends at my nose” formula. It comes across as smug, and in my experience is most often quoted by self rightious twits who seriously need a beating. Yes. If you hit somebody without being struck first you should benheld responsible under law. But there are things that get said that should be recognised as mitigating circumstances. Not excuses, but mitigations.

    On the other hand, I am also not comfortable with any strike being grounds for emptying an entire can of whop ass. Some hits are best ignore or dealt with with a firm “don’t do that again”.

    C. S. P. Schofield (e8b801)

  24. Doesn’t equality among the sexes demand that women get hit back when they hit people? Think of equality.

    Its like an equal sign. In math. =

    DejectedHead (936516)

  25. 22. …When they do pop out into the public realm we don’t quite know what to do with them or how to explain them, or how to use them to teach because both the language and the visuals are too fraught.

    elissa (b9af8b) — 7/31/2014 @ 5:20 am

    When I was 16 or 17 a girl practically handed me my butt.

    I suppose a little background is in order. I was working a a grocery store. I had to join the union. I forget which union. The rules were, I wasn’t supposed to be used as muscle. The fact was, if you wanted to keep your job, you’d stop shoplifters when you were old to.

    I hate unions with a rare passion.

    So one night this chick walks into the store with an empty canvas shopping bag. I could see what’s coming. Everybody could see what’s coming. The manager says, “Steve, stop her” when she tries to walk out of the store 10 minutes later with a full shopping bag.

    I thought it was going to be easy to get the groceries back. She picked me up and slammed me into the storefront window.

    I’m not proud I beat up a woman. Just saying, after you try to throw me through a window is not the time figure out I will beat you just like a man.

    Steve57 (0ff9ec)

  26. We live in a starnge age when men are simultaneously told:

    1. “If you believe that women shouldn’t hold certain jobs because of a lack of physical strength, your are a woman hating pig”

    2. If you hit a woman for any reason, no matter the provoication, you are woman hating pig.

    And people wonder why men are tuning out and living in Mom’s basement playing video games?

    Mark Johnson (77a382)

  27. Of course the age we live in is “strange” not “starnge”.

    Mark Johnson (77a382)

  28. Women really shouldn’t be hitting anyone. There is no excuse for a woman hitting a man just as there is no excuse for a man hitting a woman. I really hate how frequently we see women slapping men across the face as if that’s just a sassy thing to do. It’s a bad thing to do, period.

    Sadly, there are women (and men, I suppose) who are drawn to abusive relationships. We can’t pretend they all just stay with their partner out of fear.

    MayBee (3e5aa3)

  29. Great to see MayBee posting, even if the topic is not pleasant!

    Simon Jester (2b76b2)

  30. Steve57, thank you for sharing your interesting story no matter how painful. I suspect many people both men and women have had personal experiences with violence or a near miss at some point in their lives and we each bring that specific memory of the circumstances to this thread and view the whole chain of events that Dana presented here through our personal lens. That’s normal. Still, what I think many are missing, though, is that this story is current and very public–it is about a specific very ugly viral video that has been widely seen, a specific famous sports star, several very well known “celebrity opinionators” and a sports league’s actions. All those messages related to relationship violence (some which appear contradictory) that are being sent, and how and why they’re being manipulated for public consumption, and what the longer term results of all that may be, is what I think is more interesting and most relevant right now.

    elissa (b9af8b)

  31. MayBee @28, nobody should be hitting anybody.

    What should be unfortunately has little relationship to what is.

    Steve57 (0ff9ec)

  32. Bet all you guys would think twice before hitting this lady…

    Colonel Haiku (c80820)

  33. Steven Smith’s statement quoted above doesn’t reveal anything specifically or directly objectionable, while the implications of his cautionary advice to women have landed him in hot water. If I can read between the lines, Smith intended to emphasize that men shouldn’t hit women, and he encouraged women to be sensitive to the potential for violence in the heat of confrontation and to refrain from words or actions that might trigger a physical response, both of which have long been recognized as standards of prudent behavior. So, what’s the big deal here?

    Is Smith being punished for failing to pretend that women (or other men) are incapable of provoking violence? Is Smith’s real sin that he stated an inconvenient truth over the public airwaves? Anyone who doesn’t think that some women are fully capable of provoking violence either lacks experience or has their head in the sand. Arguments between men and women that begin with sharp complaints or bitter accusations can turn ugly rather quickly, and in the emotion of an escalating confrontation extremely harsh and hurtful words are routinely hurled back and forth thoughtlessly. Add a little alcohol and the conditions are ripe for a flash explosion into violence.

    Does that make it right? No. Does it happen with astonishing frequency? Yes. Are both at fault? Usually. If violence occurs who is most likely to suffer injury? The women. Who should be responsible for avoiding violence? Both of them. Which one bears the greatest responsibility? The man. Should women make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions. You bet your sweet bippi.

    ropelight (b5fb75)

  34. “Trigger Actions”!!!

    Colonel Haiku (c80820)

  35. 30. Steve57, thank you for sharing your interesting story no matter how painful…

    elissa (b9af8b) — 7/31/2014 @ 7:28 am

    It’s painful to share because I’m ashamed of it.I wish I felt I had a choice.

    Steve57 (0ff9ec)

  36. Raaaaacists!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  37. Kevin, I don’t fully understand what you are saying.

    In real life, people who behave like trolls get punched in the nose. It is only the absence of that possibility that allows them to do what they do.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  38. Ok..somebody explain something to me…..why can’t a man hit a woman?

    I know why it is wrong for a man to hit a woman under my personal value system, but that system treats men and women differently.

    Under the modern, progressive value system, aren’t women and men equal? Aren’t they supposed to be treated the same? So why shouldn’t a man be able to hit a woman, especially if she hits him first?

    The first response is that a man is stronger than a woman. That isn’t always true. If it matters though, than why is it ok for a strong guy to hit a weaker guy?

    This is yet one more instance in which Lefty “thinking” produces cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy. ‘We want men and women to be treated equally, unless the woman gets better treatment”.

    gahrie (12cc0f)

  39. Slappy Cindy McKinney could not be reached for comment.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  40. If you need to have it explained, you won’t understand it. There are things that people of worth do and there are things that trash do. Or don’t do. Same thing for men and women. Men behave in a certain way and women behave in another. It is the exact opposite of “Lefty thinking”.

    nk (dbc370)

  41. You are skipping over the point. The guy who dissed the media’s gay normative 27th round draft pick, he was indefinitely suspended pending a tour of the NFL’s reeducation camp.

    The guy who hurt a dog, he was given two years in prison.

    The ESPN guy who points out the fact that the average lady, who doesn’t drive a truck in Pee Wee Herman movies (bull dike), is liable to face serious injuries by provoking an animal like Ray Rice, he gets banned from the airwaves for providing a public service announcement.

    And the guy who beat down the woman when he thought no-one was lookin, he continues on his merry way. Tamed the shrew and everything.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  42. Ray Rice in now married to Janay Plamer who was both the mother of his 2 year old daughter and his fiancee at the time of the February incident (they had planned a summer wedding but quickly brought it to the fore after he was taped removing her apparently unconscious body from a casino elevator). His 2 game suspension is worth more than half a million dollars.

    One explanation for Rice’s relatively light punishment is that Palmer apparently pleaded with the NFL to go easy on her husband since it would also adversely affect her and the child.

    ropelight (b5fb75)

  43. as opposed to the NFL going easy on Rice which will adversely affect everybody else.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  44. ==One explanation for Rice’s relatively light punishment is that Palmer apparently pleaded with the NFL to go easy on her husband since it would also adversely affect her and the child.==

    Nicole Brown Simpson says “hi and good luck” from the grave.

    ==they had planned a summer wedding but quickly brought it to the fore after he was taped removing her apparently unconscious body from a casino elevator)==

    I think his “removing her” might have better entailed lifting and carrying her in his arms if she was unconscious–not dragging her out of an elevator by the hair. YMMV

    elissa (b9af8b)

  45. 39. gahrie (12cc0f) — 7/31/2014 @ 9:19 am

    Ok..somebody explain something to me…..why can’t a man hit a woman?

    It’s a compromise.

    Actually a man shouldn’t hit another man either, unless there’s a good reason for it, like self-defense, but those reasons apply to hitting a woman, too.

    Now the truth is, when a man hits a woman, it’s much more often unjustified.

    In this case, it obviously went well beyond self-defense – this was an attempt to deter her from something again.

    If she’s really no good to him, he doesn’t need her. That should be the response.

    The first response is that a man is stronger than a woman. That isn’t always true. If it matters though, than why is it ok for a strong guy to hit a weaker guy?

    It isn’t. But people may have to pick their fights.

    Sammy Finkelman (43c045)

  46. 46. …If she’s really no good to him, he doesn’t need her. That should be the response.

    I never hit a woman I was in a relationship with.

    It isn’t. But people may have to pick their fights.

    Sammy Finkelman (43c045) — 7/31/2014 @ 11:08 am

    Sometimes the fight picks you.

    I think crazy is the word I’m looking for.

    Most women aren’t crazy enough to pick fights with me. I’ve run across, like, two.

    Steve57 (0ff9ec)

  47. Ray Rice should be made to answer for what he actually did, not for what others imagine he might have done. The video shows no dragging of any kind and certainly not any dragging by the hair. Click on the link above and see for yourself.

    ropelight (51274f)

  48. “Nicole Brown Simpson says “hi and good luck” from the grave.”

    elissa – I hear Rihanna is still blaming herself for her beatdown by Chris Brown.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  49. Well Ropelight, I don’t want to make it any worse than it is, and I do always strive for accuracy– but despite the photography being grainy I’d certainly call that “dragging”. Now with respect to the hair part I agree with you that the video Dana posted does not appear to clearly show that, although I am pretty sure when I saw the video earlier I also read about the hair from eye witnesses at the elevator (maybe or maybe not it was the person who shot the footage and gave it to TMZ). Regardless, if I’m wrong about him pulling her by her hair I do apologize.

    elissa (b9af8b)

  50. Rihanna forgot to post a trigger warning is my understanding

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  51. Damn microaggressions!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  52. Well, I just placed an order for Indian Clubs.

    …Indian Clubs Awaken Your Shoulder Muscles!
    Used by Professional athletes, swimmers, golfers, sports trainers, physical therapists, and martial artists
    Great for people with shoulder injuries or pain…

    My shoulders are killing me. It’s probably the cumulative effect of beating up all those women. That will put some wear and tear on the ol’ Rotator Cuff.

    Sorry I brought it up.

    Just to be clear, I have never willingly hit a woman. Frankly, I think they were both high.

    I’s a small matter, though, what you may think of me individually. Should a society that thinks boys shouldn’t hit girls be sending women into combat?

    Steve57 (0ff9ec)

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