ESPN suspends Stephen A. Smith for a week for Ray Rice-related comments on domestic violence
By AARON WILSON
The Baltimore Sun|
Jul 29, 2014 | 5:00 PM
ESPN television personality Stephen A. Smith has been suspended for a week by ESPN, punishment stemming from his controversial remarks on domestic violence following Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game suspension for violating the NFL personal-conduct policy.
Smith implied that women need to be cautious not to 'provoke' domestic violence incidents. Rice and his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, who's now his wife, were involved in a physical altercation in February at an Atlantic City, N.J. casino.
"ESPN announced today that Stephen A. Smith will not appear on First Take or ESPN Radio for the next week," ESPN said in a statement. "He will return to ESPN next Wednesday."
Smith issued an apology Monday for his remarks last week that spawned a controversy when he said women need to be careful to not do "anything to provoke wrong actions."
That prompted Smith's ESPN co-worker Michelle Beadle to write on Twitter: "I'm thinking about wearing a miniskirt this weekend...I'd hate to think what I'd be asking for by doing so @stephenasmith. #dontprovoke."
Beadle also referred to Smith's comments as "irreponsible and disgusting."
Smith issued a taped apology Monday.
"On Friday, speaking right here on 'First Take' on the subject of domestic violence, I made what can only amount to the most egregious error of my career," Smith said. "My words came across that it is somehow a woman's fault. This was not my intent. It is not what I was trying to say.
"To say what I actually said was foolish is an understatement. To say I was wrong is obvious. To apologize, to say I'm sorry, doesn't do the matter it's proper justice, to be quite honest. But I do sincerely apologize."
ESPN also issued a statement Monday, one day prior to suspending Smith.
"We will continue to have constructive dialogue on this important topic," the statement said. "Stephen's comments last Friday do not reflect our company's point of view. As his apology demonstrates, he recognizes his mistakes and has a deeper appreciation of our company values."
The host of First Take, Cari Champion, discussed the NFL's suspension of Rice, which has drawn heavy criticism as being lenient.
"The NFL missed, in my opinion, a huge opportunity," Champion said. "An opportunity to say, 'We will not stand for domestic violence.' Two games is not enough. Not enough for me."