While addressing the recent suspension of NFL running back Ray Rice, ESPN Commentator Stephen A. Smith made several off-putting comments about women provoking attackers.
Rice was suspended for two games after being arrested for allegedly knocking out his then-girlfriend, which led Smith to warn women not to "provoke wrong actions":
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.
Smith's colleague and ESPN reporter Michelle Beadle did not take kindly to the rant and responded on Twitter.
Smith responded to the criticism himself on Friday afternoon with a lengthy series of tweets. He apologized to Beadle, but also repeated his point about women and provoking attackers.
Beadle has responded on Twitter.
UPDATE: Smith issued another statement on Twitter saying he "sincerely" apologizes for poorly articulating his thoughts.
My series of tweets a short time ago is not an adequate way to capture my thoughts so I am using a single tweet via Twitlonger to more appropriately and effectively clarify my remarks from earlier today about the Ray Rice situation. I completely recognize the sensitivity of the issues and the confusion and disgust that my comments caused. First off, as I said earlier and I want to reiterate strongly, it is never OK to put your hands on a women. Ever. I understand why that important point was lost in my other comments, which did not come out as I intended. I want to state very clearly. I do NOT believe a woman provokes the horrible domestic abuses that are sadly such a major problem in our society. I wasn't trying to say that or even imply it when I was discussing my own personal upbringing and the important role the women in my family have played in my life. I understand why my comments could be taken another way. I should have done a better job articulating my thoughts and I sincerely apologize.