ESPN has suspended “First Take” co-host Stephen A. Smith for a week. Why? For simply asking a question. For simply asking for more details before making final judgement.
it all started with the NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games over allegations he beat his fiancee. During the discussion and opinion portion of the story, Smith states, “In Ray Rice’s case, he probably deserves more than a two-game suspension, which we both acknowledged. But at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation. Not that there’s real provocation, but the elements of provocation.”
That statement was interpreted by critics as Smith suggesting that victims of abuse might also be responsible for provoking it.
Please reread the statement. Smith made no implication that Ray Rice’s fiancee provoked Rice into beating her.
I don’t know anything about what happened with Ray Rice because I don’t follow football, and I don’t have instant access to all the news.
DISCLAIMER: Before I proceed I have to make this statement. I believe that anyone who beats another person, male or female, adult or child, deserves punishment. Restraint is always better than violence in all domestic issues.
Let’s look at the headline…”Ravens’ Running Back Ray Rice Suspended for Two Games Over Allegations of Domestic Violence.”
As a reader what are we supposed to think? “Ray Rice beat his wife.” In my opinion, Ray Rice beat his wife and probably deserve more than a two-day suspension for his actions. But at the same time, I don’t have any facts about the situation other than a reputable news source.
My question to you is this. Is asking a question in this situation a sign that you hate women or should I blindly accept the headline as gospel truth.
Did Ray Rice, out of nowhere, strike his fiancee? Was he drunk or one drugs? Is he a violent person by nature? Or was he provoked into violence? Personally, I believe Rice would more likely answer “Yes” to the first three questions than the last. But that’s not what this is all about.
I’m an absolute proponent of the first amendment right to say anything, no matter how true, false, outrageous or offensive the question is.
America is heading down the wrong road, when we start penalizing people for asking a question. Debate is how we get to the truth in any situation. The moment we shutdown the debate by punishing people for proposing an alternate view, that’s the moment we move toward a totalitarian society.
Abortion, environment, the Middle East. We’re a divided nation because we’ve shut down debate. You’re evil and no longer worthy to be heard if you disagree with me. There are issues in my life that I feel I’m 100% right about…the existence of God and beating innocent women is wrong. But I’m not so arrogant that my opinions can not be challenged, and I’m not afraid to be challenged either. You should not be either.