The ESPN public relations machine was in full effect Monday morning as Stephen A. Smith trotted out what appeared to be a prerecorded apology for his (let's be honest) stupid comments about the Ray Rice suspension last Friday.

You probably have heard his comments by now, but suffice it to say he said Rice's fiancee (now wife) — and all victims of domestic violence — need to be careful not to "do anything to provoke wrong actions."

In other words, he's victim blaming.


Well, he was called out by the entire Internet on Friday — including ESPN coworker Michelle Beadle on Twitter — and therefore had to trot out a forced apology this morning.

"Good morning, on Friday, speaking right here on 'First Take' on the subject of domestic violence, I made what can only amount to the most egregious error of my career. While elaborating on thoughts concerning the NFL's ruling versus Ray Rice following a domestic dispute with his then-fiancee, I ventured beyond the scope of our discussion by alluding to a woman's role in such heinous matters, going so far as to use the word 'provoke' in my diatribe. My words came across that it is somehow a woman's fault. This was not my intent. It is not what I was trying to say. Yet, the failure to clearly articulate something different lies squarely on my shoulders. To say what I actually said was foolish is an understatement. To say I was wrong is obvious. To apologize, to say I'm sorry, doesn't do the matter proper justice to be quite honest, but I do sincerely apologize."

It doesn't sound nearly as hollow an apology in print, so I urge you to suffer through a couple minutes and actually watch the video if you can stomach it.

Smith is only good at one thing: smugness. And it is in full effect here as he mugs for the camera and digs through his thesaurus for bigger and more impressive words.

He's always been a clown and he's always been trolling for anger — that's the entire point of "First Take" and his equally sickening buddy Skip Bayless.

Do yourself a favor and just never watch "First Take." That show is the real "heinous" crime committed by ESPN.

Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports. And now for a rant about Tim Tebow, we go to Skip Bayless.

Latest From ...