Stephen A. Smith is a walking, talking teabag. The Machine has always found his shtick – loud, obnoxious, with an emphasis on over-enunciation – annoying. In fairness, we do appreciate his basketball IQ and knowledge of the Knicks, but for Christsake, do you have to yell all the time?
That’s not a rhetorical question. Seriously, DO YOU HAVE TO FUCKING YELL ALL THE TIME??? You’re not selling mattresses or speaking at a Mega-Church.
Stephen A. (it’s not confirmed, but we’re told the A stands for either Asshole or Annoying) recently got himself suspended by the suits at ESPN for his comments last week regarding the Ray Rice issue. The “issue” is a nice way of saying the time Ray beat the shit out of his fiancé (now wife) and dragged her unconscious body out of an elevator in Atlantic City. I mean, we’ve all been there before, right fellas? [crickets]. Anyway, while the rest of the world was up in arms about the lenient, 2 game suspension the NFL handed out to Ray, Stephen A. had a slightly different take on the matter.
After his obligatory intro about how men have no business putting their hands on women, he then shifted gears a little to focus on “the elements of provocation” and assessing its role in domestic violence matters. Quoting Stephen, “let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions.” He then doubled-down on that crazy, explaining “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.” Umm, not quite sure how else to interpret that, but I think he means we should focus on what the woman did that forced a man the beat her. Don’t believe us. Take a listen:
If that sounds bat-shit crazy, congratulations, you’re a normal human being. Implying, wait, not implying, but expressly saying you need look to at the woman’s role in getting beat is beyond messed up. Look, The Machine will never be confused with a feminist (our love of wet T-shirt contests and Tuesday Teabags confirm this) but come on. If you say something that only O.J. Simpson agrees with…you fucked up.
Naturally, the response to Stephen A.’s remarks ranged from disbelief to outrage. The best was from Michelle Beadle, host of ESPN’s Sportsnation and now The Machine’s favorite ESPN personality.
So I was just forced to watch this morning’s First Take. A) I’ll never feel clean again B) I’m now aware that I can provoke my own beating.
— Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) July 25, 2014
— Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) July 25, 2014
These tweets are great for many reasons. First, they’re humorous, humiliating, and sarcastic, our Top 3 qualities. Second, who doesn’t love some ESPN on ESPN crime? The Machine loves it some intra-company drama. If only John Clayton could somehow get in the mix…
Anyway, Stephen A. was forced issued a scripted, predictable, heartfelt apology, essentially wondering how people could possibly think he would blame women for being beat. Uh, did he listen to his show? Note to reader: be wary of anyone that uses the “that was not my intent” or “my words were misconstrued” apology.
But our friend Stephen A. is notorious for saying stupid shit…and then denying he said it, or blaming the listener for misinterpreting him. On several occasions, Stephen A. dropped the “N” word on national television. Here’s just one example, which, thanks to someone who has way to much time in his parent’s basement splicing ESPN clips, also contains his “apology”:
Incredibly, despite pretty clear audio and visual evidence to the contrary, Stephen A. denies saying it, chalks up any confusion because he’s a fast talking New Yorker, and blames us for not understanding him. If he were to say it, Smith argues, he would apologize. Holy shit, he is O.J.
Even more incredibly, ESPN brass believed him. ESPN analyzed the evidence and “concluded no inappropriate language was used after closely reviewing the segment several times, including physical aspects of speech, and speaking to Stephen A., who maintains he jumbled his words.” Ginger, please, that shit’s clear as day. Interestingly enough, Stephen A. never tells us what he actually said.
Stephen A. was not punished for his Non-N word, N words, which is shocking, considering ESPN has a hairline trigger for racial issues or anything that paints the NFL in a negative light. Rush Limbaugh, Rob Parker, and Hugh Douglas were all fired (Limbaugh actually resigned before being fired because he’s an extra-special douche) for making racial-related comments, which were all stupid and pig-headed, but none rose to the level of Stephen A.’s “alleged” remarks.
Apparently, for Stephen A. Smith, ESPN draws the line at unclear (read: 100% clear) racial remarks coupled with victim-blaming domestic violence opinions. Way to wield that hammer, ESPN. And let’s give props to Michelle Beadle…but for her instant response and relentless attention, The Machine believes no suspension would’ve occurred, and ESPN would’ve swept this under the rug like it’s done with Stephen A. in the past.
Here, there’s only one line for The Machine: The Teabag Line. Cross it, and you can never come back. For Stephen A., it’s just a matter of time before he gets fired, or, as we’re sure he’ll say, “I’M ENDEAVORING TO PURSUE OTHER SPORTS JOURNALISTIC OPPORTUNITIES.” Stephen A.’s the type of guy that craves the attention…good or bad…and just can’t help himself from toeing the line of controversy. But as you all know, you can’t toe the Teabag Line.
Enjoy your teabag.