Sports commentator Stephen A. Smith still doesn't seem to regret comments he made in July suggesting that women "provoke" domestic violence, over which he served a week-long suspension as a host of ESPN2's "First Take." But, as Smith told an audience at the University of Florida on Wednesday, he has not come around on the network's decision.
According to the Independent Florida Alligator, Smith spoke at length about fighting adversity and achieving success, saying of himself, "I don’t believe I’m negative ... I believe I’m real.” The commentator took on the issue of domestic violence during the Q&A session:
After an audience question about journalists being censored by networks, Smith spoke at length about his recent weeklong suspension by ESPN after his on-air comments about Ray Rice’s domestic violence situation.
Smith said he chose his words poorly but did not think he deserved to be suspended after his comments.
“Under no circumstances should you put your hands on a woman,“ he said at the event.
This is not the first time Smith has condemned domestic violence, nor is it the first time he has seemed to misunderstand the consequences of condoning it. Shortly before ESPN announced Smith's suspension, the host took to Twitter to defend his comments that we should "learn as much as we can about elements of provocation," issuing a long message in which he reiterated problematic questions about "addressing women on how they can help prevent the obvious wrong being done upon them." Smith also delivered a fiery on-air rant decrying the suggestion that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell be forced to resign for reportedly condoning at least one instance of a player's intimate partner violence.
According to a contract acquired by Deadspin, Smith was paid $26,500 for his hour-long engagement at the university this week.