Whoopi Defends Stephen A. Smith: “If You Hit A Man, Don’t Be Surprised If He Hits Back”

Kevin Bostic

Stephen A. Smith has been on the apology circuit after some said he crossed a line while speaking on Ray Rice’s domestic abuse allegations. “The View” host Whoopi Goldberg has chimed in on Smith’s behalf, though, saying that he was right in telling women not to provoke men.

Stephen A. Smith, of course, has been issuing mea culpas both on the internet and on television ever since he sparked outrage in some circles by advising women not to do anything to “provoke” a man into hitting her.

Smith’s initial comments came in the course of discussing the two-game suspension handed down to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice was caught on video dragging his then-fiancée out of an elevator, having apparently rendered her unconscious.

The words had hardly left Smith’s mouth before the backlash began, and Smith initially stuck to his guns. Smith took to Twitter to fire back at those calling him a domestic violence apologist, but he eventually yielded with a series of tweets meant to walk back his comments. Smith eventually issued an on-air apology, calling his comments the “most egregious moment of my career.”

Whoopi’s defense of Smith came on Monday’s episode of “The View,” with Goldberg initially recounting Stephen’s remarks before going on to make some of her own.

“Now some people are outraged, and let me just point out,” Whoopi began, “that the comment that he made was based on what the young lady said she did.”

Goldberg’s co-hosts were quick to counter, saying that there is no reason for a man to hit a woman “unless his life is in jeopardy.”

“I’m sorry, if you hit somebody, you cannot be sure you are not going to get hit back,” Goldberg persisted.

“You have to teach women, ‘Do not put your hands on anybody.”

“I know I’m going to catch a lot of hell, and I don’t care,” Goldberg continued. “You hit somebody, they hit you back! Don’t be surprised!”

She didn’t win anybody over to her side, though, as the rest of her co-hosts cited the average strength differential between men and women and held to the notion that there is no excuse for a man to hit a woman. Eventually, someone trotted out the “blaming the victim” accusation. Whoopi wasn’t having it.

“Oh my god! That is not blame the victim. I just said, ‘Don’t anybody hit anybody,'” Goldberg said.

Neither Smith’s initial comments, nor his subsequent replies, nor Whoopi’s taking Smith’s side are likely to spark as much controversy as the inciting incident, though. Rice will still be able to practice with the Ravens, and he will be eligible to play in preseason games. CBS Sports noted today that, when Rice took the field at practice on Monday, he did so to “huge applause” from the 25,000 fans in attendance.