ESPN benches Stephen A. Smith for Ray Rice comments.

Stephen A. Smith is paying for his comments about the suspension of Ravens running back Ray Rice. ESPN announced Tuesday that Smith, the loudmouth star of “First Take” and their radio network, will not appear on its airwaves for the next week. His ban ends next Tuesday.

Smith stirred up major controversy and received sharp criticism from ESPN colleague Michelle Beadle for saying that Rice’s now wife, Janay Rice Palmer, “provoked” Rice into beating her. The NFL disciplined Rice, who was charged with aggravated assault, with a two-game suspension last week.

ESPN made this statement after Smith’s on-air apology on 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.”

IYER: Too soon? Rice comes back to a standing ovation

If you’re keep score, Smith will be out a week for talking about Rice. Meanwhile, Rice will just miss two games, two weeks of regular-season action for Baltimore.


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