Why This Shouldn’t Be About Michelle Beadle vs. Stephen A. Smith
For full disclosure and it isn’t a secret, I love Beadle and I am not saying that because I just think she is great on TV (which she is), but from a personal standpoint. I like her personally, always have, I consider her my friend.
It is breaking one of my cardinal rules, which is don’t get too friendly with anyone within this industry, athlete or media, but that is unrealistic. You meet people, people give you opportunities and you develop special places for them.
I don’t always agree with Beadle, that is also unrealistic, but I respect her immensely. Her comments on domestic violence were spot on in their context. We should never be searching for reasons why someone is a victim of domestic violence. We should never say well she shouldn’t have done this or she shouldn’t have done that. No one deserves to be abused, man or woman. While most people overlooked it Beadle said it herself, but to the masses it quickly became just Stephen A. Smith vs. Michelle Beadle. That also begs the question should you publicly call out a colleague on a social media network? ESPN is a big and powerful entity, there are many within it that do not like First Take, but should this have been something that was done in private? Maybe it should have, but would we be having the conversation about this if it wasn’t ESPN on ESPN crime?
The problem as I saw it was the relaxed tap dancing way Stephen A. Smith said women “provoke” men. The way he presented it was similar to how some would say a woman in a tight dress is provoking violence against her. You can’t do that, that isn’t right and frankly leads women to believing they deserved whatever happened to them. We don’t want that, I don’t think Stephen A. wants or believes that. I assume what Stephen A. was trying to say was women who physically abuse men by striking them should not be surprised if the man strikes back. If we are going to have an open and honest discussion there are women out there who abuse men knowing that the justice system isn’t equal. They are manipulating the system so they can be the abuser and that is a reality that should be able to be spoken about. That double standard isn’t fair, never was fair and never is going to be fair, but it is the reality. Women who do that aren’t helping women who are victims of domestic violence they are hurting them. True victims of domestic violence live in constant fear and should never be blamed for the situation that are in. Stephen A. should have been clearer and he wasn’t, that is why he got the backlash, because I don’t think any woman would condone a woman physically abusing a man just because she knows he can’t hit back. Once you hit back everything is thrown out of the window. All punches aren’t created equal and frankly unless your life is in danger the best thing to do as a man is walk away and get out of the relationship. Women in abusive relationships literally fear for their lives if they leave, men should be able to simply walk away, before they react. I think both Michelle Beadle and Stephen A. Smith would agree all domestic violence is bad across the board and no one should be blaming true victims.
I don’t believe Stephen A. Smith should have been suspended for two reasons. This is what First Take promotes on a daily basis, their show is about provocations of hot takes to stir controversies. While Smith’s “take” wasn’t as clear as it should have been, his job and what he is paid to do by ESPN is make comments like this. When he went a little too far, they basically threw him under the bus. The second reason is if they wanted to suspend him they should have done it immediately, but instead they let him apologize, not once, not twice, but three times. The last apology was a taped WWE promo style apology that was used just to get ratings for First Take. They used Smith as a pawn, then when they squeezed everything the could out of the story they threw him again under the bus. I don’t agree with how Stephen A. Smith was trying to make his point, but I think considering what happened afterwards, the suspension was very hypocritical on ESPN’s part.
With Ray Rice we need to stop pretending we know everything, because we don’t and may never will. We don’t know if Rice is an abuser or he made one horrific mistake by not being able to control his rage. We don’t know why Janay Palmer married him or the history of their relationship. We don’t know if Rice has suffered from any abuse. We don’t know if this was a one time thing or multiple violent incidents have occurred between them two just not caught on tape. All we know is Ray Rice struck his fiancee with such force it rendered her unconscious. For some that means they can never respect Rice again and always see him as an abuser. Others will forgive, similar to how his wife has forgave him and chalk it up to an isolated event that someone deeply regrets.
Regardless, of whose side you are on or what opinion you have, Michelle Beadle and other female journalists do not deserve the type of words that are coming at them on them TL. This is a form of abuse and sexism that shouldn’t be tolerated ever. I am not surprised of course (people have threatened to kill my dog), but it is still very sad.
— Andrew Panos (@ajpanos) July 26, 2014
I think it is easy to just point out the vulgar and negative comments because they get the most attention. There are a lot of people who are respectfully disagreeing with Beadle and those who are fully supportive of her.
The gift and the curse of social media is it gives a voice to people who otherwise would be voiceless. I am one of those people, without social media and the internet, I’d have no outlet to speak my mind, but with that comes a certain responsibility. Unfortunately, when people have nothing to lose or no worries of punishment their hands type things that their mouths would never say.
I’ve been doing this for about a decade now. I’ve been blessed to go to countless events in major cities all over the country and even though every single day someone calls me out of my name and threatens me, not one time has anyone ever approach me with anything but kind words.
It is easy to sit behind a computer and call someone a cunt, a bitch, a nigger, but when you shutdown your computer and look at yourself in the mirror what do you see?
It is good we have these discussions, it is good that someone like Beadle isn’t afraid to speak her mind and frankly Stephen A. Smith should be able to as well. Just remember while you tweeting away spewing your hate, that karma has a funny way of catching up to you sooner than later.
This isn’t about Beadle vs. Stephen A., black vs. White, Man vs. Female or ESPN vs. ESPN, this is about trying to take a hard look at a topic that is taboo for many and that is domestic violence among athletes and punishment within the legal system and NFL. Never forget, Stephen A. got a longer suspension than Ray Rice for using his words, not his hands. Something is fundamentally wrong with that.
Hopefully we can have a civil discussion one day, one can only hope.