ESPN has suspended analyst Stephen A. Smith for one week over comments he made that seemed to insinuate women sometimes provoke domestic violence, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Los Angeles Times.
On Tuesday, the sports network released a statement saying Smith would not appear on “First Take” or ESPN Radio until Aug. 6, but did not explain why in the statement.
Smith made the comments last week while discussing the suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who had faced domestic violence charges after his wife was injured in an Atlantic City casino.
“Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions,” Smith said, apparently addressing women who might become victims of domestic violence.
The commentator went on to say it is never OK for a man to put his hands on a woman to hurt her but added: “Let’s try to do our part in making sure that doesn’t happen,” he said, apparently to women.
ESPN declined to comment further. The NFL has come under fire over Rice’s suspension, which was considered light in comparison to the heavy marijuana-related suspensions often handed down to other players.
Smith later apologized for his comments.
“I made what can only amount to the most egregious error of my career,” he said. “My words came across that it is somehow a woman’s fault. This was not my intent. This was not what I was trying to say. Yet the failure to clearly articulate something different lies squarely on my shoulders.”