For all the women who couldn’t care less about sporting events, the sixth game of the NBA finals was an emotional one. For several reasons. It was a high stakes game for both teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers were facing elimination and the Golden State Warriors had a chance to win it all. Outside of the arena, Ayesha Curry’s father was being detained. Security at the Quicken Loans arena asked him to remove his credentials and police tried to arrest him because they believed he was a con artist known for fabricating credentials for major sporting events. And, it’s important to note that all of this was after Ayesha, her family and all the rest of the family members who came to support the Warriors were held on a bus, after the game started, denied access to the arena.
Much later, in the fourth quarter, with just 4:22 to play, Steph Curry was called for his sixth foul, meaning he wouldn’t be able to compete with his team during the final minutes of this crucial game. And chile, he was NOT happy about it.
In Curry’s defense, the refs have been very inconsistent in the fouls they choose to call and the ones they choose to ignore. And with the type of leniency they’ve exhibited, it’s appalling that they would call this. Particularly since I don’t know if it was a foul at all.
And Ayesha Curry certainly wasn’t having it.
And the backlash was swift.
But it wasn’t just the Twitter thugs. ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith appeared on “First Take” earlier today to tell Ayesha, basically, that she should be more like Savannah James.
“She stepped out of line. She stepped out of pocket. I’m trying to sound as appropriate as I possibly can. You are the wife of Steph Curry, you are a reflection of him. What you do is a reflection on the organization he works for. You have to be mindful of that. You can’t get caught up in your own individual emotions and having this zest to speak out, to the point where it compromises your husband. And the fact that she did that, she was wrong. It came across as very classless…
She’s an adorable young lady, with an incredibly promising future but you just can’t do that…
As beautiful as everybody wants to say Ayesha Curry is and she is, Savannah is something special…She’s wonderful inside and out. 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… 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.”
Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.
Thankfully, Ayesha chose not be silent about Stephen A. Smith’s rant either.
So let’s dive into this shall we?
Any avid viewer of the NBA has had moments where they’ve felt like a game, a play, a player or a call was rigged. There are some things that go on out there that just seem to defy logic, including that call on Curry. (And y’all this is coming from someone who would love for LeBron to win a ring with the Cavs.) Let’s just be honest here, this is America and the NBA is a business. They’re about money. And while I feel like the Cavs won fair and square last night, the NBA makes millions of dollars with these broadcasts. The more broadcasts, the more money. It wouldn’t be that outlandish to think they would want to force a game 7.
But what’s most interesting to me is the way the public perception of Ayesha seemed to change overnight. Just yesterday, Black men were pledging their love to Ayesha. They wanted to marry Ayesha. They were tired of dating no good, cheating women, who weren’t like Ayesha. When another woman in the public eye messed up, she was compared to Ayesha. She was NBA bae number one.
But the minute homegirl expressed an opinion that was in contrast to the interests of men or didn’t speak to the fashion choices of women and her preference to cover up, that was when they were done with her. All of sudden, she was salty, annoying, immature and in need of some rest. God forbid a woman be angry or upset. Her husband literally threw a spit-soaked mouthpiece at someone in the crowd and while it was surprising to see Curry out of character like that, it certainly wasn’t condemned in the same way Ayesha’s less than sweet tweet was.
In fact, it was her tweet and not Steph Curry’s actions that are making headlines today in the news. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is male privilege. Men can do whatever they want, can put their anger on display and it’s accepted. It’s understandable. But let a woman do that…she gets dragged.
When Ayesha was more than a cheerleader in the stands, more than a wife and mother, the second she stepped out of the kitchen, that’s when the same men who praised her were ready to throw her away with yesterday’s newspaper. Essentially, it’s ok for you to ride for your man but don’t come for our beloved sports’ organizations.
It would be one thing if all of this chatter stopped on Twitter and the rest of the internet. But it didn’t. Stephen A. Smith took it to another level when he offered his opinion on her tweet. Again, Stephen A. Smith is a sports commentator. And he wasn’t talking about Curry’s ejection or the Cavs’ performance. He was talking about Ayesha’s tweet. And then took it a step further when he compared her to LeBron James’ wife, Savannah.
There are layers to Stephen A. Smith’s misogyny. First, he said that she is a reflection of him. And that is the truth, still that’s not all she is. Furthermore, if you ask me, she reflected him pretty well. He cussed the refs out saying the call was “b*llsh*t” and she tweeted that the game was rigged. Twinsies! Why didn’t Stephen A. Smith call their synchronicity #RelationshipGoals?
Then he talked about her “zest to speak out” as if it were a bad thing. She is a woman with an opinion. An opinion which she later deleted and apologized for. As a man who has made an entire career out of his zest for speaking out, Stephen A. Smith is a hypocrite of the highest order. Perhaps I would be willing to excuse it, if this were the first time he was telling women to shut up, be seen and not heard. But you may remember Smith has made some inflammatory comments of his own. And not about an organization but about women. If you don’t recall. Smith suggested that it might have been Janay’s mouth that caused Ray to knock her unconscious and drag her out of the elevator like garbage. Then, as if the message weren’t clear enough, he warned women not to provoke men. He was promptly suspended.
But what made all of this so foul is his comparison of Ayesha to Savannah. While he called Ayesha “adorable,” as if she were a child, he applauded Savannah, naming her “better” because she sits there and doesn’t bring attention to herself. She doesn’t tweet. And she’s attractive to Black men. These are the qualities that should be praised about a woman. Not your thoughts and opinions, not the career opportunities you’ve managed to take advantage of or create for yourself, naw. It’s the ability to remain silent and pretty that makes a woman special.
It’s 1950 in Stephen A. Smith’s world. And I could vomit.
If there were two words I could say to Stephen A. Smith, I would borrow them from our First Lady.
Just this week, I wrote about Michelle Obama and her advice for men. She said quite a bit, encouraging them to be better fathers, husbands and employers. She told them to be more mindful of their attitudes when it concerned women. She impolored them to be more inclusive. If she were talking to Stephen A. Smith she might have suggested he read some bell hooks and check his privilege. But she summed it up perfectly in just two words: Be Better.
Meanwhile, I hope Ayesha Curry is bumping the fourth Lemonade track on repeat.