While the San Diego Chargers were busy thrashing the San Francisco 49ers 34-7 last night, Niners defensive tackle Justin Smith got into a bit of a verbal bout with Chargers tight end Randy McMichael. As the two exchanged words in the second quarter, referee Garth DeFelice stepped in to break it up, when Smith unleashed a thousand furies upon him. Or he pushed his arm away.
DeFelice didn’t take too kindly to Smith’s response and he immediately ejected him from the game for making illegal contact with an official. Legal contact, of course, is a gentle nude embrace followed by breakfast. Of the fiery DeFelice, one announcer said:
“This guy right here, that’s Garth DeFelice and he’s one of the toughest umpires in the National Football League.”
I think that marks the first time that a NFL announcer used the “This guy right here” on a non-player. Finally, a breakthrough. As for Smith’s take on the ruling, he seems to be fine with it. Or at least he understands it…
“I wasn’t even aware it was the official at first,” Smith said. “Me and the tight end were kind of going at it. It was kind of a natural reaction by me. Rules are rules, you’ve got to respect it. It’s unfortunate it cost the team.” (Via National Football Post)
However, some people believe that Smith’s words were just a thinly-veiled way of saying, “Balderdash!”
Justin Smith spoke briefly with reporters after the game and indicated that he did understand the rule that if issued a flag for touching the ref he’d be ejected. However, when asked if he expected a fine and his thoughts on the nature of the play, he stated several times that, “It is what it is.” Watching him say that you could tell he thought it was a bogus call without calling it that. (Via Niners Nation)
Regardless, Smith is going to receive a fine from the league and he’ll play next week. Meanwhile, DeFelice will probably need months of therapy to recover from this brutal beating. He may never be able to leave his home again with fearing having his arm pushed. Be brave, Garth. Be brave.
Video after the jump…