Sports Columnist On The Hot Seat

Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan, who was suspended for one month without pay after saying on television that the wife of New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd, allegedly the victim of domestic abuse, needed someone to "smack her."
Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan was suspended without pay for a month after saying on TV that basketball star Jason Kidd's wife 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."

Ryan also was barred from appearing on radio or television for one month. In a statement, Ryan apologized 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."

New Jersey Nets coach Byron Scott urged the Globe to fire Ryan, who made the comments Sunday night on WBZ-TV's "Sports Final" show before the Nets and Boston Celtics began their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Kidd, the Nets' All-Star guard, said Boston fans insulted his wife and 3-year-old son during the playoffs last season. Kidd was taunted with chants of "wife beater," referring to 2001 charges, later dropped, that he hit his wife, Joumana.

Ryan made the comments as he and host Bob Lobel talked about the rematch and whether the Kidds will receive similar treatment when the teams go to Boston for Game 3 on Friday.

Ryan said Jason 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."

Lobel immediately interrupted Ryan, asking him to retract the statement.

"You just don't want to smack her, you don't mean to say that. No, do you, really? Tell me you don't," Lobel said.

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

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