Stephen A. Smith is "annoyed" people "misconstrued" his comments about domestic violence

The ESPN host tries to clarify in a long stream of tweets

Published July 25, 2014 7:58PM (EDT)

Stephen A. Smith          (AP)
Stephen A. Smith (AP)

Stephen A. Smith issued a series of tweets in an effort to clarify his earlier comments asking that "we [...] learn as much as we can about elements of provocation" in domestic violence incidents because "we’ve got to [...] prevent the situation from happening in any way."

Here's what he said:

This will be a long tweeted message, folks. So please stay with me and let me finish my complete thought before responding...b/c i'm ANNOYED. In discussing the Ray Rice ruling earlier today on @ESPN_FirstTake, me and @RealSkipBayless ventured into discussing domestic violence. Upon hearing what I had to say, 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 4 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. My apologies to @MichelleDBeadle. And any woman out there who misconstrued what I said. I have always -- and will always -- find violence against a women every bit as horrific as women, themselves, find it. Always have. Always will, which my personal behavior exemplifies. I'll strive to be more articulate in the future. But be clear, I wasn't BLAMING women for anything. I was simply saying to take all things into consideration for preventative purposes. Period.

Just a thought: If you ask your audience what could have been done to prevent a situation in which an NFL player is alleged to have assaulted his wife so violently that she was knocked unconscious, and then follow that prompt with your thoughts on preventing violence by examining women's "provocation," your meaning has not been "misconstrued."

h/t Deadspin



By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Domestic Violence Ray Rice Victim Blaming Violence Violence Against Women