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ESPN Host Under Fire for Remarks About Domestic Violence Victims (Video)

”We keep talking about the guys… But at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation,“ says Stephen A. Smith of ”First Take“

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith got himself into some hot water Friday when he seemed to suggest that victims of domestic violence provoke their attacks. Smith’s remarks were prompted during a discussion of Balitmore Ravens star Ray Rice, who was suspended by the NFL for allegedly assaulted his fiancee in February.

“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,” he told his “First Take” co-host Skip Bayless. “But at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation.”

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“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. ”

Smith’s commentary was longwinded and sometimes confusing, but critics say he was instructing potential victims not to provoke their potential attackers.

His ESPN colleague Michelle Beadle took him to task on Twitter immediately:

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Smith has since taken to Twitter to clarify his “First Take” comments and apologize to Beadle:
















These developments come on the heels of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s announcement Thursday that Rice was facing a two-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s conduct policy.

The three-time Pro-Bowler was arrested in February on suspicion of domestic violence after after an alleged altercation with his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer. Surveillance footage acquired by TMZ shows the 27-year-old athlete dragging Palmer’s body out of an Atlantic City elevator. The two of them are now married.

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Many feel the league needed to be more severe with its punishment of Rice, especially considering other players have been suspended for more games after committing seemingly less egregious offenses, like testing positive for marijuana.


Josh Gordon, a wide receiver who plays for the Cleveland Browns, is facing a one-year suspension after failing a drug test. He is expected to appeal the NFL’s decision.