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What Ray Rice Really Did Wrong

In this Show

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s punishment for Ravens RB Ray Rice shows he is inconsistent. Rice gets just two games for allegedly laying out his now-wife in an Atlantic City casino and then dragging her out of an elevator. We use ‘allegedly’ because the footage we have shows Rice and Janay Palmer after the elevator door opens. But if she wasn’t unconscious when she went into that elevator, are we supposed to believe she knocked herself out while inside?

ESPN suspended Stephen A. Smith for a week on Tuesday for comments that suggested women should avoid provoking men into assaulting them. Smith raised the subject of provocation last Friday during a discussion on “First Take,” on ESPN2, about the two-game suspension received byBaltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice from the N.F.L. over allegations that he beat his fiancée, now his wife, in a casino elevator. Smith’s remarks led to a rebuke on Twitter from another ESPN star, Michelle Beadle. In a recorded apology Monday, Smith said that he had failed to properly articulate his view and that he had not intended to say that domestic violence was a woman’s fault. Smith will return to “First Take,” and to his afternoon ESPN Radio show in New York, next Wednesday.

In a statement to employees, John Skipper, ESPN’s president, said that Smith’s remarks “did not reflect our company’s view, or our values. They certainly don’t reflect my personal beliefs.”

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TV Sports: Stephen A. Smith’s Domestic Violence Remarks Put ESPN in a Bind JULY 28, 2014

Sports of The Times: Ray Rice’s Suspension Is Followed by Praise JULY 24, 2014

He added: “We’ve been engaged in thoughtful discussion about appropriate next steps. Those conversations have involved a diverse group of women and men in our company.”
Smith’s weeklong suspension is less severe than the 30 days imposed on Max Bretos, an ESPN anchor who used the term “chink in the armor” in reference to Jeremy Lin in 2012. In 2010, Tony Kornheiser was suspended two weeks for comments he made on radio about an outfit worn by Hannah Storm, a “SportsCenter” anchor. RICHARD SANDOMIR

Whoopi Goldberg came out with a fiery defense of ESPN commentary Stephen A. Smith on “The View” Monday, saying no woman should be “surprised” if they make the decision to hit a man and the man hits back.
Goldberg was outnumbered by the all-female panel as she repeatedly argued, “If you hit somebody, you cannot be sure you are not going to get hit back!”

“I’m know I’m going to catch a lot of hell, but Smith apologized on Monday for comments he made last week about domestic violence during his reaction to NFL running back Ray Rice’s two-game suspension for allegedly knocking out his wife. He cautioned women against doing “anything to provoke wrong actions,” though he also made it clear that it’s never OK for a man to hit a woman.

Whoopi explained that Rice’s wife reportedly admitted to hitting him before the incident, which is where she said she believes Smith’s remarks came from.

Smith was accused of blaming domestic violence on women — and so was Whoopi on Monday. Guest host Sunny Hostin accused Whoopi of playing “blame the victim.”

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