Stephen A. Smith was not fired or suspended by ESPN for his recent comments about domestic violence, which started with a discussion of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was recently suspended for two games for beating his fiancee.
A taped apology video aired at the beginning of First Take on Monday, three days after Smith’s original comments.
“I made what can only amount to the most egregious error of my career,” Smith said, referring to comments that asked if women somehow provoke men into committing domestic violence.
“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.”
There was no further discussion on First Take; instead, the show shifted into a live discussion about LeBron James.
ESPN released a statement shortly after the video aired.
“We will continue to have constructive dialogue on this important topic,” it said. “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.”
Reaction to Smith’s apology was varied on YouTube and Twitter, with many appearing to be in support of him.
“I’m glad Stephen A Smith apologized. I’m sure he didn’t mean how it came across but still u gotta own when u [mess] up,” said one user.
“First Take and Stephen A Smith taking the beginning of the show to apologize for the things he said friday nothing but class,” said another.
“The funny thing is that Stephen A. is known for telling the viewing audience that they can ‘kick rocks’ if they have a problem with something he said when it’s in reference to offending certain portions of the ‘black community,’ but he dare not come against the Femi-Nazis, or he will be emasculated on air lol,” said another.
“@stephenasmith didnt get fired from @ESPN!! I support you 1000% Stephen A!!!” said another.
“Stephen A Smith was on first take today and apologized. Everyone knows that he can’t be fired and expect the show to be the same,” said yet another.