Stephen A. Smith Given One-Week Suspension From ESPN For Ray Rice Comments

Stephen A. Smith will be M.I.A. on ESPN for one week following his domestic violence comments on the Ray Rice controversy.

On Friday’s First Take (July 25), the outspoken talking head discussed the NFL suspending Rice for two games following assault charges that involved his then-fiancée, now wife, several months ago. It was Smith’s comments that raised eyebrows as he said that women should “not provoke wrong actions,” setting off a media firestorm.

Smith then took to the air Monday (July 28) to issue a formal apology for his words. “My words came across that it is somehow a woman’s fault. This was not my intent,” he said. “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 its proper justice, to be quite honest. But I do sincerely apologize.”

The network then said in a statement Tuesday (July 29) that Smith would not appear on First Take or ESPN Radio for the next week and will return to air next Wednesday.

At the time of the incident, ESPN also said, “We will continue to have constructive dialogue on this important topic. 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.”