Report: Stephen A. Smith Joining SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio As Controversy Over Domestic Violence Comments Rages
July 28, 2014 at 11:55 AM (PT)
As controversy over his comments about the RAY RICE suspension builds, STEPHEN A. SMITH's radio job may be changing, as the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS reports that SMITH will leave ESPN Sports WEPN-F (ESPN NEW YORK 98.7FM)/NEW YORK to join SIRIUSXM's MAD DOG RADIO for 1-3p (ET) weekdays, leading into CHRIS "MAD DOG" RUSSO's afternoon show.
SMITH has been hosting a local show with RYAN RUOCCO 1-3p (ET) on WEPN along with his national ESPN television duties.
SMITH, the co-host of ESPN television's "FIRST TAKE," ignited controversy on that show FRIDAY (7/25) when he suggested, in a discussion of the light suspension given BALTIMORE RAVENS star RAY RICE for a domestic violence incident, that women have a responsibility not to "provoke" men into domestic violence.
SMITH said, "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 ... 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."
The comment led SMITH's ESPN colleague MICHELLE BEADLE to post a series of tweets saying, "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.... I'm thinking about wearing a miniskirt this weekend...I'd hate to think what I'd be asking for by doing so @stephenasmith. #dontprovoke.... I was in an abusive relationship once. I'm aware that men & women can both be the abuser. To spread a message that we not 'provoke' is wrong."
SMITH responded with his own tweets saying, "although admitting I could've been more articulate on the matter, let me be clear: I don't understand how on earth someone could interpret that I somehow was saying women are to blame for domestic violence. And when I saw @MichelleDBeadle -- a colleague I have profound respect for -- tweet what she tweeted, enough is enough. Something needs to be said right now. REPEATEDLY I said: There is absolutely no excuse to put your hands on a women. REPEATEDLY, I said dudes who do that need to be dealt with. REPEATEDLY, I echoed when confronted by it in the past -- when someone was stupid enough to touch a loved one of this man, raised by four older sisters, a mom and numerous female relatives and loved ones, that man was dealt with.
"From that point, I simply asked: now what about the other side. 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. Who on earth is denying that? But what about addressing women on how they can help prevent the obvious wrong being done upon them? 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 there's only but so much that can be done after the fact ... once the damage is already done. Nothing more." He apologized to BEADLE and other women who objected to his comments, but then said, "I was simply saying to take all things into consideration for preventative purposes. Period."
The comments led to extensive reaction on social media and a series of posts at DEADSPIN detailing the situation, and ESPN has issued a statement saying, ""There has been a lot of discussion and reflection on the topic since Friday and it will continue. STEPHEN A. SMITH plans to address the situation on MONDAY's FIRST TAKE and we will have more to say on MONDAY as well."
And at the outset of "FIRST TAKE" TODAY, SMITH made a statement stressing that he has "religiously spoken out against domestic violence... over 20 years in this business," and that he did not intend to say that women can provoke violence against them.