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Last Thursday, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended for two games by the NFLfollowing an offseason arrest. In May, Rice entered a pre-trial diversion program to avoid a trial and jail time for an altercation with his wife (at the time, she was his fiancé).
The penalty was met with universal eye rolls and general outrage from NFL fans and non-fans alike.
At best, Rice showed some horrible decision-making the night he dragged an unconscious Janay Rice out of an elevator. At worst, Rice is a wife-beater.
ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith didn’t show the same type of outrage that most did. On ESPN’s First Take, Smith admonished men who hit women but also said that women should not “provoke” men into hitting them:
But what I’ve tried to employ the female members of my family, some of whom 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.
The backlash was swift, immediate, and understandable. Smith’s high-profile colleague Michelle Beadletook to Twitter to bash Smith’s stance.
“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.”
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