Monday, June 20, 2016

What we can learn from the Stephen A. Smith vs Ayesha Curry Twitter/TV Battle of Words

(Photo from Instagram)

Thursday night was an interesting on in basketball. Steph Curry, maybe one of the few epitomes of class act athletes we currently have, was ejected from a game that some would argue was questionably reffed. I didn't see the game, so I cannot comment either way. What I did see was a major flurry on my own Twitter feed, cause by none other than Steph Curry's wife, blogger and cooking show host, Ayesha Curry and responses to commentary by none other than ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.

Ayesha tweets the following:

This tweet spurred a long and verbose response from Smith, starting with "If that was Savannah, LeBron’s wife. If that were Gloria, LeBron’s mother. What would we be saying?” Huh? I thought we were talking about Ayesha.

Smith Continues “LeBron James has a mom and has a wife, has kids, great guy, an even greater ambassador of the game of basketball than Steph Curry because he’s done it over the test of time. Wonderful, beautiful father." Very nice that you like Lebron and his people, but again, Stephen, what does the have to do with Ayesha?

Then, the conversation gets really weird. Smith goes on to say "And I’ve got news for you: As beautiful as everyone wants to say Ayesha Curry is, and she is, Savannah is something special. I’m here to tell you something right now. Ain’t a man alive, particularly a black man, that’s going to look at LeBron James’s wife and not say that that woman ain’t gorgeous."

Again, Stephen, what does that have anything to do with Ayesha, these tweets, or anything relating to the particular topic at hand? I don't know, but he does go on to say "She’s (Savannah) wonderful inside and out."

Here's where it gets good: "She sits there, she doesn’t bring any attention to herself. She never tweets and goes out there and calls out the league and stuff like that. And nobody — nobody — is more scrutinized than her husband. But yet, she thinks about how she represents him, and as a result, she doesn’t do that.”

If this were Savannah, acting like this, do you know how much heat LeBron James may have taken? I just want people to think about that and I’ll leave it at that.”

Ayesha, obviously gotten wind of the strong misygenistic BS, tweets again, this time responding to the weird comparison between herself and Savannah Stephen, calling him out for comparing two different women.

Stephen gets the tweet and, following what would be equivalent of the whole "I've got 5 black friends" for the women in his life, proceeds to say “Ayesha Curry is a wonderful, wonderful woman. I would never, ever, disrespect the wife of a player. Period. I was raised by five women — my mother and my four older sisters, okay? What I am trying to explain to you, Mrs. Ayesha Curry, is that it’s not me, it’s you. Because what happens is that when you’re out there tweeting and saying the things that you’re saying, you are putting your husband in a precarious position. And I’m saying if that were LeBron James and his wife, it would’ve been treated differently by the media and by the masses. So it’s not pitting you and Savannah against each other, it’s allowing you to know that others would not hesitate to do it, which is why it’s something you should watch out for because I don’t want you to do something I know you don’t want to do, which is hurt yourself or your husband or your family in any way.”

Wow, where do I start? How about the truth of what Stephen was saying?

Its weird to say, but what Stephen actually meant as wisdom to Ayesha was valid. Ayesha, as the wife of Steph Curry, one of the biggest NBA players, probably shouldn't have come out so hard against the NBA; akin to the spouse of a high powered individual within a company coming on to social media complaining about that company. Its just not wise. Now, I will also say that she is free to say and express her own opinions on her own feeds. And many people agreed with her. Was it wise: probably not. Was it valid: probably so.

At the same time, there are several fails within his diatribe that Stephen (and anyone else who couldn't see the obvious misogyny that overloaded the truth of what I believe Stephen was attempting to convey) should avoid:

First, while what he meant was valid, what he said was nonsense. There probably was no poorer way to say something, that at its root, was good advice. Stephen managed to take an actually wise piece of information and turn it into a steaming pile of crap that at, at its best made him look like an incompetent speaker who was completely unable to focus on the point of his little speech, or at its worst, made him look like a complete misogynist. 

Another thing: Why even give any focus to what Ayesha said on her own Twitter, to her own followers? Everyone Tweets stuff, thoughts, moments, passions, all the time. And thats what the social media platform is for. Last time I checked, Ayesha is not an employee of the NBA. She's not even directly affiliated with the NBA. She has the right to say whatever she wants, wherever she wants. Has it suddenly become your job to make comments on social media? I thought you were supposed to be a sports commentator? You know what your job is, Stephen? To talk about the game. focus on the game. How about you stay in your lane, sir?

Second, why the comparison between two popular player's wives? What does Savannah have anything to do with Ayesha? I would like to remind you, Mr. Smith, that other sport wives also have gone on full twitter tirades as well, so don't act like Ayesha is the first or the worst.  In fact, LeBron James' mother, whom Mr Smith earlier highlighted, was mentioned in the above link for an incident back in 2008.

I would also like to remind Mr Smith that you aren't comparing two watches on two different NBA player's wrists, sir. You are talking about the behaviors and reactions of two very different women. And by comparing the two, particularly pointing and highlighting out Savannah's "silence" in a favorable light, you're illuminating that Savannah is somehow more favorable as a basketball wife, simply because of her silence. And by focusing (awkwardly so) on the physical attributes of Savannah, also highlights that it works in her favor to be pretty. Pretty and silent. 

Which leads me to my third, and final point; what Stephen A. pretty much mansplains to Ayesha is that she is to, in essence, sit pretty and shut up. By comparing a quiet woman to a woman who speaks her mind, and showering complements and preferences on the former, Stephen is illuminating that a woman, especially the wife of a prominent NBA player, is supposed to be seen and not heard. This antiquated rhetoric has been used on women over the course of the ages to keep women quiet, subservient, and submissive is the garbage Stephen uses to wrap the one nugget of truth in before launching the entire disgusting mass towards Ayesha without breaking a sweat. 

Many will come to defend Mr Smith, saying that what he meant was valid, despite how poorly he said it. However, while there does lie a small nugget of truth within his comments, it so was buried beneath the layers chauvinistic nonsense, it wrecked not only what he wanted to say, but it destroyed a lot of his credibility as well.

Just my thoughts. 

Comment yours below.