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Misogynoir in Sports: ESPN’s Attack on Ayesha Curry– ‘Stay In Your Lane’

Stephen A. Smith — Stop Mansplaining To Ayesha Curry How To Support Her Man

In Game 6 of the NBA Finals, league MVP Stephen Curry fouled out of the game late in the 4th quarter.  He disagreed with the call — to say the least — throwing his mouth guard and getting into the face of the referee, who ejected him from the game (basically meaning he couldn’t watch from the bench, since he already fouled out).  

After the game, both Curry and his coach Steven Kerr were vocal about their opinions of the referee’s performance.

Curry’s wife, Ayesha, was also unhappy. She tweeted the following:


Mrs. Curry deleted the tweet shortly after and apologized:


Clearly she felt that she made a mistake by accusing the NBA, her husband’s employer, of cheating. And she apologized.  End of story, right?  Not quite.

ESPN reporter Stephen A Smith chimed in.  Smith spoke about how she is a “beautiful woman,” but she’s out of line. As Smith likes to do, he repeated himself, this time calling Ayesha adorable. He moved on to Curry’s mother, who’s also “lovely and beautiful” but she blows kisses to the crowd to taunt them. And then he decides to bring up LeBron James’ wife, Savannah.  Believe it or not, this is a quote:  

“As beautiful as everybody wants to say Ayesha Curry is, and she is, Savannah is something special.  Ain’t a man alive, particularly a black man, that’s gonna look at LeBron’s James wife and not say that that woman ain’t gorgeous.”                

He proceeds to say that James’s wife doesn’t tweet or respond to people when they criticize her husband.  

First off, why are we talking about their looks?

This is about Ayesha Curry speaking up about her husband and how he was treated on the court. A conversation about basketball, like what happens at water coolers around the country after a game like this.

But now we are talking about how one woman is better looking than another, and that one is in the right for staying quiet? Basically, he’s saying that Savannah shuts up because she is a good wife while Ayesha speaks up and she not even as good looking.  

Ayesha Curry responded, calling out Smith for pitting her against Savannah.  Smith responded again on-air, not talking about his actions but enlightening Mrs. Curry as to why she was wrong for her initial tweet (which, again, she deleted and apologized for). A comment on Twitter recognized how Smith slowed down his remarks in order to “mansplain” to Ayesha.

Smith is “the man” here, and he needs to explain that a woman has her place, and it’s looking beautiful and shutting up. Frankly, Mrs. Curry didn’t even need to delete the first tweet. Perhaps it was inflammatory, and she thought better of it and deleted. But Stephen A or anyone else can’t put Ayesha Curry in her place because she’s already there – by her husband, saying what she wants.     


Full Transcript of comments below:

Skip: You know Savannah in ways I don’t know her, because I can’t see her.

Stephen A.: Wonderful woman.

Skip: LeBron protects her from the spotlight. She’s out of sight and, mostly, out of mind for me because she’s not front and center. That’s by design, I’m pretty sure, by King James.

Stephen A.: Let me answer that: Wrong. Savannah is not like that at all. LeBron doesn’t have to protect her. She doesn’t put herself in those positions. She’s at practically every home game. Every time I’m in Cleveland, just like when I was in Miami, I saw her at every game. Everyone knows who she is. She sits in the same place. She’s at every game, and she’s just as pleasant as you can be.

Skip: I see Steph’s parents and Steph’s wife constantly. I never see Savannah on television.

Stephen A.: That’s where I’m going. I’m asking you: Why is that? [Savannah] sits in the same location. When she was in Miami, she would sit in seats near Gabrielle Union, who was there obviously supporting Dwyane Wade. Everybody knows where she is. But she’s quiet, she’s unassuming, she doesn’t bother, she stays in her lane, she plays her position. She is LeBron’s wife, and anything that she says or does can fall back on him. She is protective of her man.

Skip: Don’t you think that’s come from LeBron? Not that he’s ordered it, but he’s made her aware that you have to be careful.

Stephen A.: Doesn’t have to. Seriously, I got a big mouth. My mother is one of the quietest people on the planet. Certain people are like that. Savannah doesn’t want the attention.

Skip: I want to defend Steph’s wife here, because she was standing by her man and I appreciate that. I get what you’re saying. You have to be careful. We see so many Twitter victims, and maybe in this case she was, because you can’t let your emotions run amuck. It’s what Coach Herm Edwards always says: ‘Don’t hit send. Think twice before you hit send.’ She had just gone through what she called a tactic and it may have been. The whole traveling party, all the family, got stuck on a bus. It’s possible because Jay Z and Beyoncé were ahead of them and it stalled the entrance into the back of the arena. The point is I think they were a little late for tipoff. You told me they were right on time, but I think she indicated they missed a little bit of the first [part] of the game. She called it a possible tactic on the part of the Cavaliers, just to mess with their minds. But she’s emotional and overly emotional already, and then…

Stephen A.: That’s all I’m saying. That’s my point right there, which you just made. My point is she’s a wonderful young lady with an incredibly promising future. They’re a wonderful family. I’m not going to sit up here and negatively talk about somebody’s wife. I don’t know know this woman. She seems to be an absolutely wonderful, wonderful person. But when you’re out there tweeting and stuff like that, Skip, I would say this to any lady who is the lady of a man: If you are doing that, you are thinking about yourself and not him, and that puts him in a comprising or potentially precarious position. I believe you have an obligation to look out for your man like that.

Skip: I got it, but I was with her in spirit. What she was reacting to after all the stress she had been through, including her father, as she said, being profiled. I didn’t have a big issue with it.

Stephen A.: Molly, I don’t know what your comments are, but I would say that’s not the first time or the second time or the 10th time that Ayesha has tweeted, and when you tweet a lot, you’re not just Ayesha Curry. You are Steph Curry’s wife. Period.

Molly: Maybe she thinks that’s how she’s defending him. All I can say is every relationship is different and every personality and everyone handles every couple’s social media differently. We do have to go to break.



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