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Dr. Sheron's Blog

Stephen A. Smith’s Comments Reveal the Truth

ESPN was right to suspend Stephen A. Smith for his recent comments about women and their obligation to ensure they don’t get hurt. Smith is a popular and powerful man with a microphone, making lots of money with his opinions on sports and everything that goes with it. There is a larger lesson in all of this- especially to women. We must to stop looking for support and affirmation of women’s worth in the sports world. Expect them to insult, demean and downgrade us. They will.

Smith’s suspension was due to comments on the Ray Rice domestic violence situation. The Baltimore Raven running back was caught on TMZ Sports video dragging his now-wife, Janay Palmer, from an elevator at a casino in Atlantic City in February after prosecutors say he punched her. Rice received a measly two game suspension for the crime. And Janay went on to marry her abuser.

During the Rice discussion, Smith alluded to women in abuse cases he said, "Let's make sure we don't do anything to provoke wrong action ... we got to also make sure that you can do your part to do whatever you can do to make, to try to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Smith blames victims and reinforces the lie that they must govern themselves, so they don’t get hurt. What about asking men to be men and refrain from hitting women? And yes, there are women who provoke men. Men stop dating them; these women are not going to change their behavior.

Smith’s suspension for sexism is not long enough and a long time coming. He has been building a case for women to know their place and shut up for a while. In 2012 when Chad Johnson got caught head-butting his wife, Smith said, “There are plenty of instances where provocation comes into consideration, instigation comes into consideration, and I will be on the record right here on national television and say that I am sick and tired of men constantly being vilified.”

When Floyd Mayweather was charged with domestic violence, Smith tweeted “Let’s not discount the women out there who want someone like Mayweather strictly for the cash. Men ain’t wrong always.”

The continuous threads of sexism flowing through Smith’s comments, remind us that sports and domestic violence go hand in hand. Where you have unchecked testosterone, macho and muscles, women are bound to be hurt. Let’s redirect our energy. Stop being surprised and offended by the sports world’s defense of violence against women and instead work to educate women and men that it is never ok to hit a woman.

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