A Couple Good Men: Take On Smith And Dungy Comments

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

What happened to honesty being the best policy. Better yet, the truth setting anyone free. Well, for these good men in ESPN NBA analyst and First Take co-host Stephen A. Smith and former NFL head coach, now NBC Sports NFL analyst Tony Dungy, being honest was not the best policy and speaking their truth did not set them free as the media and public criticize the experts for expressing their true feeling.

Smith was suspended from ESPN for a week after he apologized for comments made surrounding the issue of domestic violence in the wake of the NFL’s disciplinary action against Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

Dungy was blasted by the media when he made comments about linebacker Michael Sams, the St. Louis Rams seventh round pick and first openly gay football player to enter the NFL draft, saying he would not have drafted him because of the “distraction” that would have come with him.

Both parties delivered honest truthful opinions.  However, Smith was forced to apologize.  Dungy didn’t, but was forced to clarify his comments -which still didn’t sit well with media.  

Quite frankly, neither should have had to apologize or clarify anything.  

Stephen A. Smith/Google Images

Stephen A. Smith/Google Images

Smith apologized probably, and just speculating here, because he works for ESPN who has numerous female anchors, reporters and staff members. Not to mention, its huge female viewership and is owned by Disney, who also owns ABC.  And he said these things while performing his contractual duties.

The suspension was inevitable. 

If Dungy had made his comments while on air during a live taping of NBC Sunday Night Football, it’s a good chance that the Super Bowl winning head coach would have spit out an apology by now.  

And Dungy probably would have been sent on a vacation by courtesy of a suspension.

Let’s step back for a second and address all those who may have thought – wait, this is America, what about the first amendment and free speech?  

The Free Press Clause protects publications of information and opinions, guaranteeing that individuals can publish any lawful material without fearing any punishment from the government even if it’s pertaining to the U.S. government in a critical fashion.

Smith is an employee of ESPN, which means he is subject to their rules and regulations. 

Ray Rice/Google Images

Ray Rice/Google Images

During an episode of ESPN’s First Take, Smith pleaded with women to “make sure they don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions.”  This was said after he repeatedly and sincerely stated that he does not in anyway shape of form condone a man putting his hands on a woman.   One overboard tweet later by ESPN’s Michelle Beadle and the mob began to form.

“I’m thinking about wearing a miniskirt this weekend…I’d hate to think what I’d be asking for by doing so @stephenasmith#dontprovoke

— Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) July 25, 2014

So, what’s the  problem with this?  Not to defend Rice, but no one knows what happened in that elevator in Atlantic City.  Not to mention, the star Ravens ball carrier and his then fiancé, Janay Palmer, now wife, were both arrested.  

Let’s repeat that.  They were both arrested.  

There is speculation that the NFL Commissioner Rodger Goddell was privy to the footage of what happened inside that elevator and that such footage had a lot to do with the decision to suspend Rice for only two games.  Was this what Smith was referring to?

Someone shared a video of a girl, in what seemed to be a high school classroom, standing over and screaming at a seated male student.

Among other profanities and abusive language used by this potty mouth teenager, she shouted repeatedly,“hit me, hit me, hit me, hit me, I dare you, more insults, hit me, hit me,” while the female teacher stood by seemingly powerless to do anything.

The young man, while seated, shouted at the girl, “get a way from me, I’m not gonna hit you, leave me alone.”  She eventually jumped on the male student and he threw her to the floor.  So, for arguments sake, how many games should Rodger Goddell suspend the male student for?  

This is what Smith was talking about.  Let’s not pretend that this does not happen behind closed doors across the United States of America.  

Many women use the fact that a man should respect them enough to keep their hands to themselves even if a woman says whatever she pleases in a disrespectful manner (sometimes in front of others), to belittle the man as much as possible to make a point or just to flat out embarrass him.

Not to mention, many Americans that find themselves in similar situations are not fit mentally, stressed or under the influence. Take this into consideration and there are deeper problems at the root of eventual and unfortunate outcomes.

This society of beta males has allowed women to create a culture in America where they are always the victim and are never assessed any blame or responsibility for their contributing actions.  

Regardless of what happens to a woman, if a male is involved in the crime, she is almost never vilified.

Here’s an ugly truth. As displayed in the video, some women do provoke men to hit them. 

Some men can refrain from hitting women back. Hip Hop legend and entrepreneur Jay-Z was discipline enough to not retaliate at his sister-in-law Solange when she attacked him in a elevator on May 5th at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

On the flipside, some men can’t keep their cool when women attack them with nowhere to run. If that was the case for Rice, this would not make him “the most discussed and disliked athlete in the nation.”

There are countless women who will admit situations like
this happens, and probably are laughing at this matter as we, the media, make Rice’s nightmare into big deal. 

Yes, Rice’s nightmare because if he was provoked, he is a victim, too.

Stephen A. Smith/Google Images

Stephen A. Smith/Google Images

ESPN was in no way going to back Smith, mind you who they hired to be boisterous and opinionated on such matters, in order to avoid an eventual uproar that would have come from women all over America, backed by their beta male counterparts.

So basically, the highly opinionated Smith was suspended for doing his job to please sensitive individuals who did not hear his heart, which he clearly expressed.

Apparently,  if Smith’s comments were harsh and senseless, suspension would be understood because making statements with no facts, to be cruel (lace with prejudice), is unacceptable. 

ESPN’s move to suspend Smith was very hypocritical since they hire strong opinionated individuals. And to probably threaten this accomplished journalist his job if he did not apologize was weak. 

ESPN is better than that.

That’s clearly was not what Smith was eluding to. By the way, millions of people probably had no idea who Beadle was before this. Beadle should probably thank Smith. 

Domestic violence is a hellish issue in the world today, and to hop on an issue without hearing the message and having all the facts just to sound popular among the so-called publicly correct, is gutless.

Clearly, Beadle and many others missed it, but succeeded for a week by getting their names into the spotlight.

Now let’s move on to the Dungy comments.  

As former NFL head coach Herman Edwards, now ESPN analyst, so eloquently put it, “you take a chance on a player if the talent outweighs the distraction.”  He went on to say, “if the distraction outweighs the talent then you have to pass.”  

Why are we, the media, slamming Dungy for doing what an NFL team would have hired him to do in the first place? Which is to build a team based on winning philosophies.

Those philosophies earned Dungy the distinction of being the first black NFL head coach to ever win a Super Bowl.  

Tony Dungy/Google Images

Tony Dungy/Google Images

If Dungy wants to avoid distractions by not drafting an openly gay player then he, and any other coach in any level, should be allowed to. The goal is to win games and distractions disrupt the team.  As a head coach, it’s their job to mitigate or navigate these distractions well.

Regardless of what one chooses, this is a job requirement of every NFL coach.  It’s just a matter of how the coach wants to install or maintain favorable operating conditions.  Distractions only take the focus away from the ability of everyone to perform at the highest level.

Sams should be able to play in the NFL, and hopefully,  he makes the Rams’ active roster. Not because he is gay, but because Sams can truly contribute and another player’s dream came true. 

Nevertheless, Sams present in the locker room and the field can be a distraction – for this reason.

The WHO (World Health Organization) issued guidelines this year that recommended all HIV negative men who engage in sex with other men take an HIV preventative drug known as Truvada. This on the heels of new information reported this year by Bloomberg which stated, “While the number of people diagnosed with HIV in the U.S. dropped 33 percent in the last decade, new cases among young homosexual and bisexual men doubled, according to researches who said prevention programs need to be expanded.”

If the trends reported by WHO don’t slow down, awareness of AIDS may regain the nation’s attention once again.  Eventually, in a bloody sport, the NFL players will keep that in the back of their minds whenever they take the field with and against Sams.

In addition, let’s stop comparing gay acceptance to racial equality in America. 

Being gay is not the same as being black or latino or any other minority for that matter.

Another ugly truth.

Oh, that can’t be said.  We can’t have honest discussions anymore where our honest opinions are respected.

We have to agree with popular opinions and those who support them for fear of being labeled as ‘anti-gay’ because everyone have someone gay in their family. Everyone know someone who was or is a victim of domestic violence.  Today’s society want well tailored responses that address the question, but curtail how they really feel so that people don’t hurt anyone’s ‘feel-wings.’  

Here’s a marvelous revelation.

What if people were allowed to speak from they heart freely. Free of judgement without the fear of being ostracized and rejected. 

Maybe if people were allowed to speak on their own deep and honest truth without judgement, we might address real problems and make progress in our society instead of hiding behind fruitless and circumlocutory discussions that allow us to end the conversion on a feel good note.  

Instead, people play nice and walk away knowing that we really do not share the same views.  We teach each other and our children to navigate topics, while putting on a nice show.  

Living in a society that rewards you with acceptance for keeping your true thoughts to yourself only creates a coexistence of well fashioned egos.  People are afraid to be their own authentic selves which leads to troublesome issues that we see play out everyday.

Sometimes, the truth is not pretty, but Americans have become good at masking it.

And suspending Smith and shaming Dungy, these good men, is cowardly. 

So, in the words of Colonel Jessup, …

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