Because of the two-game suspension that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down to Ray Rice yesterday, the Ravens running back has been at the center of a lot of conversations concerning domestic violence over the course of the last 24 hours. Rice was involved a physical altercation with his now-wife Janay Rice back in February, which is why Goodell decided to suspend him for two games. And there's been a lot of talk about whether or not two games was a long enough suspension, given what Rice was accused of doing.

With that in mind, it wasn't surprising to see Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless discussing Rice and domestic violence in general on ESPN First Take earlier today. But some of the comments that Stephen A. made during the broadcast of the show were surprising. Shocking even. Specifically, he reiterated that it is not OK for a man to ever put his hands on a woman on several different occasions. But at the same time, he also indicated that women need to learn how to avoid provoking men from hitting them.

You can watch the video above to hear Stephen A. talk about the "elements of provocation" as he put it. You can also read the transcripts from the show below, courtesy of Deadspin:

It's not about him, then. It's about you, and here's what I mean by that. We keep talking about the guys. We know you have no business putting your hands on a woman. I don't know how many times I got to reiterate that. But as a man who was raised by women, see I know what I'm going to do if somebody touches a female member of my family. I know what I'm going to do, I know what my boys are going to do. I know what, I'm going to have to remind myself that I work for the Worldwide Leader, I'm going to have to get law enforcement officials involved because of what I'm going to be tempted to do. But what I've tried to employ the female members of my family, some of who you all met and talked to and what have you, is that again, and this what, I've done this all my life, let's make sure we don't do anything to provoke wrong actions, because if I come, or somebody else come, whether it's law enforcement officials, your brother or the fellas that you know, if we come after somebody has put their hands on you, it doesn't negate the fact that they already put their hands on you. So let's try to make sure that we can do our part in making sure that that doesn't happen. Now you got some dudes that are just horrible and they're going to do it anyway, and there's never an excuse to put your hands on a woman. But domestic violence or whatever the case may be, with men putting their hands on women, is obviously a very real, real issue in our society. And I think that just talking about what guys shouldn't do, 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. We know they're wrong. We know they're criminals. We know they probably deserve to be in jail. In Ray Rice's case, he probably deserves more than a 2-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, you got to make sure that you address them, because we've got to do is do what we can to try to prevent the situation from happening in any way. And I don't think that's broached enough, is all I'm saying. No point of blame.

Stephen A.'s comments are already not sitting well with a lot of people out there, and they've started to send out tweets like these:

But random people on Twitter aren't the only ones upset with what Stephen A. said. Michelle Beadle, the co-host of ESPN's SportsNation, also chimed in on the issue shortly after hearing what Stephen A. had to say about domestic violence:

There's been no follow-up yet from Stephen A. himself. But because of all the outrage surrounding his comments, we'd be shocked if ESPN didn't chime in on this subject soon. So stay tuned.

UPDATE:

Stephen A. Smith has responded to the outrage. He took to his Twitter account a short time ago and posted a series of tweets. You can read them here:

UPDATE 2:

Stephen A. was supposed to do a scheduled radio interview a short time ago, but it got canceled. It sounds like ESPN might be axing his media commitments at this time:

[via The Daily Banter]