ESPN’s broadcaster Stephen A. Smith is at it again, delving into a touchy topic that landed him a one-week suspension just nine months ago, claiming “women can play a role in provoking men into violence.” This time, he’s defending boxer Floyd Mayweather’s — who’s been convicted of domestic violence twice — history of domestic violence during a discussion with co-host Cari Champion.
Smith was responding to a comment made by trainer Freddie Roach, claiming that “Mayweather-Pacquiao is a fight pitting good against evil because of Mayweather’s domestic violence issues.”
“What makes me uncomfortable is that they’re also lumping all of this other stuff that Floyd Mayweather allegedly has done to say, ‘Well, you know what? Look at how much of a bad guy he is,’ ” Smith said.
“When you take the position that you take, Cari, against — I got no problems with this, you’re a woman, you should feel that way — anybody else, based on what he’s been accused of, I get that. I have no issue whatsoever.”
Champion interrupted him and stated “I definitely have an issue with his domestic-violence record, but I also have an issue with how he treats women period outside the ring.”
Smith was essentially saying that domestic violence is simply a woman’s issue. But when he realized his co-host wasn’t too fond of his comment, he quickly explained his reason behind his saying.
“I’m saying that her position is clear because she’s a woman, and this is how she feels he conducts himself. I am a boxing fan. When I’m talking about Mayweather-Pacquiao, I’m thinking about two dudes strictly in the boxing ring. And that’s all I’m doing.”
“What kind of person are you!” Roach responds after hearing Smith defending Mayweather’s history of domestic violence.
Just nine months ago, Smith was suspended by ESPN for one-week for saying “women can play a role in provoking men into violence,” but has since made a public apology.
“I made what can only amount to the most egregious error of my career,” Smith said. “While elaborating on thoughts concerning the NFL’s ruling on Ray Rice, following a domestic dispute with his then-fiancée, I ventured beyond the discussion by alluding to a woman’s role in such heinous matters, going as far to use the word ‘provoke’ in my diatribe.”
“My words came across as this was somehow a woman’s fault. This is not my intent. It is not what I was trying to say. Yet, the failure to truly articulate something different lies squarely on my shoulders. To say what I actually said was foolish was an understatement, to say I was wrong was obvious, to apologize, to say ‘I’m sorry,’ doesn’t do the matter justice to be quite honest, but I do sincerely apologize.
As a man raised by the greatest mothers in the world, and four older sisters, I’ve religiously spoken out against domestic violence all of my life … I’ve experienced and dealt with the matter within my own family. Unfortunately, I did an incredibly poor job of asserting my own view on Friday, particularly to victims of domestic abuse and female members of my own family that I’ve disappointed. I know better, you all deserved a better professional — and quite frankly a better man — on this very stage last Friday.”
[Image courtesy of Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]