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Bill Tompkins Gervonta Davis Archive

Source: Bill Tompkins / Getty

Over the weekend a video clip of Gervonta Davis went viral and it portrayed the professional boxer in a rather disturbing light. In the clip, the 25-year-old Baltimore native is seen walking into the seating area of a charity basketball event in Miami and snatching a woman up by her clothes before pulling her out of her seat and leading her to a more private area.

According to reports, the woman in the video is the mother of Davis’ child, Andretta “Dretta Starr” Smothers, and the two attended the event separately with their dates. It’s not completely clear what led to the altercation. Some outlets have reported jealousy as the driving force, with Davis being upset that Smothers was present at the event with another man. However, the details remain murky and have yet to be confirmed. Regardless of what caused the altercation that we see in the video, what’s crystal clear is that Davis displayed abusive behavior and there’s no getting around that.

Fans quickly began weighing in on the situation by way of social media after the clip began to make its rounds. While the majority expressed disgust over Davis’ conduct, there remained a disturbing percentage who opted to defend and rationalize his toxic behavior. What was even more troubling was that many of Davis’ defenders were women. Some of Davis’ sympathizers actually condoned his behavior, arguing that it was normal for a man to “snatch up” his woman from time to time — a highly problematic way of thinking. Others stated that the video needed further context and pointed out that we lack knowledge of what Smothers did to cause the super featherweight boxer to react the way that he did. This issue with this rhetoric is that it suggests that physical abuse is acceptable in some instances, depending on the perceived offense, and that is just not true. Abuse is never okay and nothing grants an adult to put their hands on another adult. Period. Some also chose to argue that we never actually witnessed Davis hit Smothers in the video — a sentiment he later echoed in a statement.

“I never once hit her, yea I was aggressive and told her come on,” said Davis in an Instagram post. “That’s the mother of my child I would never hurt her other than that happy New Years.. January was trash.”

Physical abuse is not limited to just punching, slapping, and kicking. Restraining choking and pushing also fall under the umbrella of physical abuse. Additionally, physical abuse is not the only form of abuse. Emotional abuse is real and it definitely played a role in the altercation that played out between Smothers and Davis. A key tactic of emotional abusers is to intentionally embarrass the victim in a public space. Not only did he physically yank her out of her seat and force her to leave a public space against her will, but he also humiliated her in front of all who were present.

We don’t need context to recognize that Gervonta Davis is abusive — both physically and emotionally. And the fact that he did anything other than offer an apology for his conduct suggests that he saw nothing wrong with his actions and that he will likely do the same or worse the next time he feels disrespected. Toxic masculinity at its finest.

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