By Perry Green, AFRO Sports Editor, [email protected]
Ravens star player Jimmy Smith will miss the first four games of the 2018 NFL regular season after violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
According to ESPN, Smith’s suspension stems from a petition filed by his former girlfriend and mother of his child, accusing the eight-year-veteran cornerback of domestic violence and abuse. Upon investigation, the league discovered evidence of Smith’s “threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors” towards, prompting the suspension.
“I would like to sincerely apologize to my former girlfriend, the NFL, the Ravens organization, my coaches, my teammates, my fiancée and all our fans. I’m very disappointed that my past actions have led to this suspension,” Smith said in a statement released by the Ravens. “I promise that I have already learned much and will continue to learn more from this experience. I believe I am, and will continue to try to be, a better person and a better father because of this. I am committed to being the best I can be, both on and off the field.”
Smith was initially dealt a six-game suspension from the league, but it was reduced by the two games after an appeal, according to ESPN. Smith said he takes full accountability for his actions.
“I take full responsibility for my past conduct. Moving forward, I will work with the NFL and the Ravens to ensure that what happened in the past will never happen again,” Smith said in his released statement. “I will take all necessary steps to be a positive role model for both my sons, for the NFL and for the entire Ravens community.”
The Ravens organization released a statement, saying it was aware of the NFL’s investigation into Smith’s conduct and plans to retain him throughout the suspension.
“As a result of this entire process, we will allow Jimmy to return to our team after his suspension,” the Ravens’ media statement read. “Jimmy has acknowledged his behaviors were wrong and accepts full responsibility for them. He has completed a clinical evaluation and has agreed to undertake any follow-up care or treatment that may be recommended.”
The Ravens’ decision not to release Smith was perhaps surprising, considering how the team cut former Ravens star running back Ray Rice after he was suspended five years ago for domestic violence. Ravens owner Steve Biscotti said back then that the Ravens would never draft any players with a history of domestic violence, per ESPN.
“Through our conversations with Jimmy, we believe he is taking the proper steps to improve and that he can change,” the team stated. “Jimmy has assured us that he is fully dedicated to making this change. He also understands the consequences if he does not.”