This morning's Very Special Edition of First Take began with a scripted and seemingly pre-recorded apology from panelist Stephen A. Smith regarding the very dumb things he said about domestic violence last week. It was ... unconvincing.
The crux of Smith's apology is that he simply failed to properly communicate his stance on domestic violence during last Friday's show. Smith claims that he never meant to insinuate that women can provoke their own beatings at the hands of men, and that he has "religiously spoken out against domestic violence" throughout his life. "I've done so repeatedly over 20 years in this business, as well as over these very airwaves, right here on First Take," he assured us. That's a curious claim for Smith to make, seeing as how his previous discussions of domestic violence on First Take were not at all out of step with his comments from Friday.
Once Smith was done explaining himself, host Cari Champion was allowed to talk about how dangerous it is to use the word "provoke" when discussing a woman's role in domestic violence, and express her disappointment in Ray Rice's two-game suspension.
And then the show transitioned right into a debate about what LeBron James choosing to wear a No. 23 jersey means. This show is so, so weird.