Antonio Smith Suspended, and Yet Richie Incognito Walks the Streets
On Saturday night, in a fit of preseason deja vu rage against the Miami Dolphins, Antonio Smith retaliated to a Richie Incognito instigation with an act that will see Smith punished and vilified around the league. Somehow, Incognito will manage to walk away scot-free.
Hell, in this case, with national media exercising the most selective evidence and slanting the story heavily against Smith, Incognito practically came away as a sympathetic figure.
And that's pretty ridiculous.
In case you missed it, in the first quarter of the Texans' 24-17 preseason win over the Dolphins, Dolphins guard Richie Incognito was doing "Richie Incognito things" to Smith as the Texans' defensive end tried to get after Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, first grabbing Smith's facemask with his left hand and then throwing a right cross with his other hand.
Here are several different video feeds for your viewing pleasure/information. I'll let you judge for yourself:
Vine feed on perpetual loop
Random YouTubes from multiple angles
Fox Football Live feed
If he were playing football in a world with no suspensions or fines, Smith reacted the way every Texan fan hoped he would -- by ripping off Incognito's helmet and taking a quasi-swing at Incognito's exposed face using the headgear as an instrument to inflict some good ol'-fashioned blunt-force trauma.
Unfortunately, Smith plays football not only in a world where suspensions and fines are available on Roger Goodell's discipline menu, but in a league with a commissioner who a) is seemingly hellbent on eradicating any frivolous or non-frivolous contact with the human head and b) is extremely capricious and arbitrary in his doling out of punishment.
And Tuesday afternoon, that punishment came down, as Tania Ganguli of ESPN reported that Smith will be suspended for the remainder of the preseason and for one regular-season game. It is also expected that Smith will be fined for the incident.
I'm guessing Prior history did not do Smith any favors either, as he was subject to an $11,000 fine less than a year ago (that after appealing it down from an original amount of $21,000) after "kicking Incognito in the head." Focus on the outskirts of this video to see that play:
So, much like Uncle Leo, Smith has "priors." (But it was a crime of passion!)