Stephen A. Smith - noted sayer of loud things on a television show best known for idiotic, inane rhetoric on a network best known for broadcasting an unprecedented volume of LeBron James tweets - has put himself in something of a precarious position.
In response to the NFL's lackadaisical punishment for Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking his girlfriend unconscious and then dragging her body out of an elevator, Smith had some thoughts on how in the end, women should learn not to provoke men into hitting them He expressed these thoughts on ESPN's First Take while Skip Bayless nodded in trollish silence.
In a rant pre-empted with nonsensical tough guy-banter about how nobody better lay a finger on any women of the Smith family, he finally got to his point: Maybe it's time to look to women to shoulder some of the blame when it comes to being beaten.
"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."
Somehow, this set people off.
Realizing that he was Earth's sole voice of sanity on this topic, Smith took to Twitter, where he attempted to tweet his way out of the fallout from an irate, disgusted sports community.
If a man is pathetic and stupid enough to put his hands on a woman -- which I have NEVER DONE, btw -- of course he needs to pay the price.— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) July 25, 2014
Who on earth is denying that? But what about addressing women on how they can help prevent the obvious wrong being done upon them?— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) July 25, 2014
In no way was I accusing a women of being wrong. I was simply saying what that preventive measures always need to be addressed because— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) July 25, 2014
The vitriol was not limited to folks outside Bristol.
So I was just forced to watch this morning's First Take. A) I'll never feel clean again B) I'm now aware that I can provoke my own beating.— Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) July 25, 2014
Still, the day would not end. Smith was headed for Philadelphia's own 97.5 the Fanatic, at the behest of Charles Barkley, who wanted Smith to "explain himself." Before he could, ESPN shut him down in ana attempt to contain the fire.