Stephen A. Smith will not appear on ESPN television or radio for one week, the network announced Tuesday.
ESPN is not calling the absence a suspension, but that’s essentially what it is.
Smith made controversial comments regarding domestic violence during Friday morning’s edition of “First Take” on ESPN2. He made the situation worse later that day when he attempted to clarify those comments with a series of tweets, which were deleted soon after they were posted.
Smith made a formal apology in a taped segment prior to the start of Monday morning’s “First Take.”
“As many of you know, there has been substantial news coverage in the past few days related to comments Stephen A. made last Friday in the wake of the NFL’s decision to suspend Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games following charges of assaulting his then fiancée, now wife, a few months ago,” ESPN president John Skipper said in a statement Tuesday.
“We’ve said publicly and in this space that those remarks did not reflect our company’s point of view, or our values. They certainly don’t reflect my personal beliefs.
“We have been engaged in thoughtful discussion about appropriate next steps. Those conversations have involved a diverse group of women and men in our company. Our women’s (employee resource group) has added to the conversation and going forward, I know they will help us continue constructive discussion on this and related issues.
“Stephen has called what took place ‘the most egregious mistake’ of his career. I believe his apology was sincere and that he and we have learned from what we’ve collectively experienced.
“I’m confident we will all move forward with a greater sense of enlightenment and perspective as the lasting impact of these last few days. I want to thank all those whose thoughts have contributed along the way.”
Smith won’t return to the network until August 6.