On Friday, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith seemed to insinuate on his show "First Take" that women should aim to avoid provoking domestic violence committed against them. After an uproar, he made a string of explanations on Twitter, which were soon deleted in favor of a single one. And on Monday morning, he apologized on air as "First Take" began.
"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."
When he made the original comments, Smith was debating Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game suspension for an alleged February altercation between Rice and his then-fiancée, which ended with her unconscious in an Atlantic City casino elevator.
“Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions,” Smith said Friday, apparently addressing women who might become victims of domestic violence. Smith said 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 also released this statement Monday:
"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.”
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