Bob Ryan suspended one month for 'smack' talk

Sports columnist Bob Ryan was suspended by The Boston Globe for one month without pay after saying on television that the wife of New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd, who was allegedly the victim of domestic abuse, needed someone to "smack her."

"Bob Ryan's comments were a clear and egregious violation of the standards of The Boston Globe," Globe editor Martin Baron said in a statement. "Bob has been told in no uncertain terms that his remarks were offensive and unacceptable."

The columnist was also barred from appearing on radio or television for one month. Ryan also works for ESPN as a regular panelist on "Around the Horn" and "The Sports Reporters" and is a regular guest on ESPN Radio.

Ryan, who has since expressed regret, made the comments Sunday night during a segment on WBZ-TV's Sports Final show.

Kidd said Boston fans insulted his wife and 3-year-old son during Game 4 of the 2002 Eastern Conference finals at the FleetCenter. Fans taunted Kidd with chants of "wife beater," referring to 2001 charges that he had struck his wife, Joumana.

Kidd eventually agreed to a plea and received six months of court-ordered counseling.

The Celtics and Nets began another playoff series on Monday, prompting Ryan and host Bob Lobel to discuss whether Kidd and his family will receive similar treatment when the teams come to Boston for Game 3 on Friday.

During the show, Ryan said Kidd should expect taunts from the crowd, then criticized the Kidds for using their son "as a prop" and called Joumana Kidd an "exhibitionist"

Then, in a comment that was not picked up clearly on tape, he said: "Oh great. I mean she needs (inaudible) to smack her."

At that point, Lobel interrupted, saying, "You can't say that. What's happening here? You know what, I will give you a mulligan on that."

Ryan retorted: "I'm not looking for that."

Lobel persisted, saying, "You just don't want to smack her. You just don't mean to say that. Really, tell me you don't?"

"Why should I say anything different than I said all playoffs last year?" Ryan said.

In a statement Tuesday, Ryan apologized to Joumana Kidd for the "inappropriate and offensive remark."

"It was, of course, atrocious judgment on my part," he said. "I wish to state clearly that I am aware of the very real problem of violence against women in our society, and that in no way is it a joking matter."

Nets players and coaches called for Ryan's dismissal. Speaking during practice Tuesday, New Jersey coach Byron Scott said Ryan "should be out of a job."

"Just tell him to come right in here and he can say that in front of me and Jason and some of our players," he told reporters. "He'll see how well he'll be received."

Kidd called the comments "unfortunate" and said his wife "felt sorry if she offended (Ryan) in any way."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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