The NFL announced a four-game suspension under the personal conduct policy for Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith this week and the team said it supported the league’s finding that “found evidence of threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors by Jimmy toward his former girlfriend that showed a pattern of improper conduct.”
The Ravens also said that they consulted with “relationship and domestic violence experts” before making the decision to keep Smith on the roster. Smith issued his own statement saying that he takes “full responsibility for my past conduct” and will work to be a better person.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh pointed to those two statements when asked to comment Thursday on Smith’s suspension and the team’s decision to keep him on the roster. Safety Eric Weddle was less reserved when it came to sharing his feeling that the punishment did not fit the crime.
“I’m very close to Jimmy and it’s unfortunate with what happened,” Weddle said, via Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun. “It’s hard to fathom arguing with your [significant other], never touching her and that gets you a suspension like this when guys are getting DUIs or physically abusing other people, and they never get near this [penalty]. I know details of it that I can’t get into, so I just feel bad for him. And it’s hard for a guy put into that spot, where he can’t really stand up for himself and tell the truth. Because if he does, it’ll be a lot worse in the grand scheme of things.”
Weddle said that he feels the Ray Rice situation was “obviously” on the Ravens’ mind when it came to keeping Smith on the roster and opined that “they wouldn’t have done what they did and support him if they didn’t have all the facts” regarding Smith’s behavior. Without more from Harbaugh, General Manager Ozzie Newsome or team owner Steve Bisciotti, the team’s statement, including a line about Smith understanding “the consequences if he does not” change his behavior, will stand on its own.