SANTA CLARA — The 49ers suspended veteran broadcaster Ted Robinson on Wednesday for two upcoming games following comments this week to a San Francisco radio station about the Ray Rice domestic violence case that were deemed insensitive.
The Pac-12 Networks also announced late Wednesday it had suspended Robinson for the next two weeks and that he would undergo sensitivity training. The 57-year-old Robinson spoke to KNBR (680 AM) on Monday and said Rice's now-wife, Janay, was partly to blame for not speaking up.
“That, to me, is the saddest part of it,” he told the station.
The issue of domestic violence is particularly sensitive for the 49ers, who recently had one of their players arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. Defensive tackle Ray McDonald has continued to practice and play since his Aug. 31 arrest while celebrating his 30th birthday with friends and teammates at his home. CEO Jed York and coach Jim Harbaugh have said they will let “due process” play out before making a decision about McDonald, while reiterating they have zero tolerance for domestic violence.
Robinson issued apologies through the 49ers and Pac-12 Networks.
“I want to unconditionally apologize for my comments the other day,” Robinson said. “As a professional communicator, I am responsible for my words. My choice of words was careless and does not reflect my true feelings about domestic violence. I understand that the cycle of abuse keeps people in unhealthy relationships. No blame or responsibility should ever be placed on a victim.”
In a statement, 49ers President Paraag Marathe said he told Robinson of the decision earlier Wednesday.
“The comments made by radio broadcaster Ted Robinson on Monday were offensive and in no way reflect the views of the San Francisco 49ers organization. We have made the decision to suspend him for the next two games. I informed Ted of our decision earlier today, and we will continue to address this matter with him internally. Our organization stands strongly against domestic violence and will not tolerate comments such as these.”
Robinson has been the 49ers' play-by-play voice since 2009 and signed a five-year contract extension in May 2013 that takes him through the 2018 season. He will not call the team's home opener Sunday night against the Bears, the regular-season debut at new $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium.
His first game back would be when San Francisco hosts Philadelphia on Sept. 28.
The Pac-12 Networks said Robinson wouldn't call games for the next two weeks.
“Ted's commentary on Monday was entirely unacceptable and stands in stark contrast to the core values of Pac-12 Networks,” Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans said. “We value Ted as a member of our team, but see this as an important learning opportunity as we work with him through sensitivity training before welcoming him back to our air.”