Jul 30, 2014

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith will be warming the bench this week.

The sports network suspended Smith for one week on Tuesday for televised remarks he made last week seeming to suggest that victims of domestic abuse sometimes shared responsibility for physical assault.

“Stephen A. Smith will not appear on First Take or ESPN Radio for the next week,” ESPN said in a brief statement. “He will return to ESPN next Wednesday.”

Smith has apologized several times for comments he made Friday on the sports debate show First Take, where Smith and fellow ESPN personality Skip Bayless discussed the two-game suspension the NFL levied on Ravens running back Ray Rice. Surveillance cameras from an Atlantic City casino showed Rice dragging his unconscious bride-to-be, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator, days before their marriage.

“Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions,” Smith said. “If we come after somebody has put their hands on you, it doesn’t negate the fact that they already put their hands on you. So let’s try to make sure that we can do our part in making sure that that doesn’t happen.”

In a long and sometimes confusing soliloquy, Smith went on to concede that Rice “probably deserves more than a two-game suspension.” Then Smith said “we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation.”

Smith tried to quell the outrage in a series of posts on Twitter, then in a longer statement, and finally in an on-air apology broadcast on Monday morning. After ESPN’s decision, Smith (@stephenasmith) tweeted out: My apology on @ESPN_FirstTake Monday morning speaks for itself. I accept ESPN’s Decision. See you all next Wednesday. God Bless!

Smith had made similar comments in 2012, when NFL receiver Chad Johnson was charged with domestic battery following a dispute with his then-wife, Evelyn Lozada. In response to that news, Smith suggested Lozada was exaggerating the incident and that “her actions have been completely glossed over.”

“I am sick and tired of men constantly being vilified and accused of things and we stop there,” Smith said. “I’m saying, ‘Can we go a step further?’ Since we want to dig all deeper into Chad Johnson, can we dig in deep to her?’ ”








Stephen A. responded on Twitter to his suspension

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