ESPN's Stephen A. Smith melts down over demands Roger Goodell resign amidst Ray Rice controversy


The National Organization for Women's call for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to resign in the wake of the league's apparent bungling of the Ray Rice investigation is not sitting well with at least one prominent media personality.

NOW released a statement Wednesday afternoon demanding Goodell step down because of his "failed leadership" in handling the NFL's "violence against women problem."

Steven A. Smith angrily disagreed with the statement during a segment on ESPN's "First Take," at times shouting over co-hosts including the normally caustic Skip Bayless and even refusing to simmer down when told the show was ending.

The women's advocacy group cited multiple instances and accusations of sexual assault involving players and even Cowboys owner Jerry Jones before demanding Goodell vacate the NFL's Park Avenue offices.

"The NFL sets the example for college, high school, middle school and even elementary school football programs – the example currently being set by the NFL is simply unacceptable," said the NOW statement.

"[NOW demands] that you [Goodell] resign from you position as commissioner of the NFL and that your successor appoint an independent investigator" to handle similar complaints in the future.

The organization called Goodell resigning "the only way to restore honor and integrity to the country's most lucrative and popular pastime."

Smith was practically foaming at the mouth by the time he found himself in front of a camera.

Co-host Skip Bayless, normally no stranger to controversy himself, agreed with NOW in that it might be time for the "Ginger Hammer" to resign, but Smith shouted everyone down.

"I think this woman is off her rocker. I think she's lost her mind," Smith said. "That's right, I said it. This is the most ridiculous nonsense I've ever heard in my life

"Roger Goodell deserves to lose his job?" Smith continued. "Why are you acting like he's Ray Rice? Roger Goodell didn't hit Janay Palmer Rice. He hasn't hit any women."

Co-host Cari Champion tried to interject and tell Smith it was "time to wrap things up," but he well full steam ahead.

"By the way, the last time I checked, Skip, why are we talking about the NFL as if it's some cesspool for domestic violence?" Smith barked. "There's a few cases. It's being dealt with."

Bayless again agreed with the sentiment that it might be time for Goodell to resign. Smith's rage only grew.

"He deserves to lose his career because of this? Because the National Organization for Women are gonna come out and treat Roger Goodell like he has committed domestic violence?" Smith shot back.

Smith's ranting and raving continued until ESPN cut him off with a commercial break as he repeatedly growled "tell them to call into my show, ridiculous."

The commentator's fury came as Goodell sent a memo to team owners and executives admitting that the NFL never asked the Revel Casino for the security tape.

A copy of the memo obtained by the Baltimore Sun reveals the league asked several law enforcement entities for the video but was denied.

"None of the law enforcement entities we approached was permitted to provide any video or other investigatory material to us," said Goodell.

The commissioner also notably did not unequivocally rule out Rice ever donning an NFL uniform again.

Notable reactions to Ray Rice video
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ESPN's Stephen A. Smith melts down over demands Roger Goodell resign amidst Ray Rice controversy

Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton weighed in with a series of tweets...

(John Leyba via Getty Images)

Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton weighed in with a series of tweets.

Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton weighed in with a series of tweets.

Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton weighed in with a series of tweets.

Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton weighed in with a series of tweets.

Saints tackle Zach Strief: "I don't know Ray Rice, but I know that video is disturbing. It's tough to see and it's unacceptable. ... It's upsetting."

Steelers cornerback William Gay: "We're talking about a life, I don't care about a sport when it comes down to domestic violence. This is real. Someone can lose their life to it."

Gay's mother, Carolyn, was shot and killed by Gay's stepfather in Tallahassee, Florida, when Gay was 7 years old. He volunteers at the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and is an advocate for domestic violence victims.

"We need to do everything we can to help Ray Rice because we don't need to run away from him and say he's evil."

Bills coach Doug Marrone, who supports Vera House, which assists victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse...


"Am I happy the NFL has taken a harder stance? ... I mean, there is no excuse for abuse. I really believe that."

Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine, who called the video "deeply disturbing, especially as a father that has two daughters":

"There's just no place for that behavior in our society."

Adding he wasn't surprised that Rice was cut after Petting saw the video, he was asked if he could coach a player involved in something similar: "You don't want to ever talk in absolutes, but it would be really difficult," he said.

"If my daughter was to get hit like that from another man, I'd have a serious problem with it. So I wish him the best, but it's no place for that. I don't care if you're a football player, a professional athlete or anything, a regular man or anything, there's no place for that - striking a woman."

"The video of Ray Rice punching his fiancee in the elevator is a graphic illustration of what goes on behind closed doors every day in this country. In my years as a prosecutor and judge, I never saw such explicit videotape evidence of domestic violence. Today, by acting quickly and decisively, and in suspending Ray Rice and terminating his contract, the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens sent a powerful message that domestic violence will not be tolerated.

Coach Kyle Flood of Rutgers, where Rice attended...

"Family is family, but at Rutgers we hold ourselves to an extremely high standard, and we expect a lot out of our players, and we expect a lot out of the coaches and the staff that we have here ... we expect a lot out of our alumni. I think because of those expectations, this is a sad day.

"Ray will always be a part of our family. The video I saw this morning was difficult to watch. As a husband and as a father, there's nothing that could justify what I saw on that video.

"This is a sad day for Ray and a sad day for Rutgers."

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who did not know whether President Barack Obama had seen the latest video ...

"This administration and this president do believe strongly that the scourge of violence against women is something that needs to be aggressively combatted ... We certainly welcome any strong signals by anyone in this country in support of that value," Earnest said.


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