Stephen A. Smith issued an apology Monday on ESPN’s “First Take,” three days after coming under fire for controversial comments he made about domestic violence.
Smith initially took to Twitter on Friday in an attempt to backtrack after, during a discussion about Ray Rice’s two-game suspension, he suggested women are capable of “provoking” domestic violence. Smith issued a more formal apology in a taped, three-minute segment that aired during the opening of Monday’s show.
“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. Yet the failure to clearly articulate something different lies squarely on my shoulders.”
The show’s host, Cari Champion, then offered her opinion on Rice’s suspension while addressing Smith’s apology, but the dialogue about domestic violence ended there as the show dove straight into a live discussion about LeBron James’ decision to wear No. 23 this season.
Shortly after Smith’s apology, ESPN released the following statement: “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.”