Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless
ESPN screenshot 

Marion Barry told me in a recent interview that when you realize you're in a hole, stop digging. Stephen A. Smith could have used that advice Friday morning when he hopped out there on ESPN's First Take and did his Stephen A. Smith thing (which includes loud talking and a nod to his homeboys) to explain his stance on Ray Rice's domestic violence suspension.

Smith, whose ESPN bit is to play the contrarian to Skip Bayless and vice versa on the show, decided that instead of looking at Rice's ridiculous behavior or waxing on the NFL's lack of a stance on domestic violence‚ÄĒhaving only suspended Rice for two games after video showed Rice dragging his then-fiancee out of an elevator unconscious‚ÄĒhe would spend his rant yelling about the role women play in provoking male reaction.

Smith tweeted and deleted the following:

In no way was I accusing a women of being wrong. I was simply saying what that preventive measures always need to be addressed because there's only but so much that can be done after the fact….once the damage is already done. Nothing more. My apologies to Michelle Beadle

It didn't take long for Twitter to start dragging Smith, most notably Smith's ESPN colleague Michelle Beadle, co-host of SportsNation. 

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https://twitter.com/MichelleDBeadle/status/492710654462025731

Smith tried to clarify what he meant, apologizing to his colleague in the same breath.

https://twitter.com/ZerlinaMaxwell/status/492738177640431617https://twitter.com/JamilSmith/status/492735611648745472https://twitter.com/goldietaylor/status/492735642518814720https://twitter.com/HubbuchNYP/status/492742042666430464

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Sadly for Smith, and possibly his tenure at the sports channel, the damage had been done.

Stephen A. Crockett Jr. is associate editor of news at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.

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