“Slug-Fest in the N.Y. Jets Locker Room”
Football + Boxing
Distinio Lois, Jr.
The 2015 Boxing Calendar got off to a great start with exciting fights, title and non-title, plus the addition of 2 Boxing promoters, Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports and Al Hayman’s Premier Boxing Champions who are now revolutionizing the sport.
Now, it seems that non-boxing athletes like Football players want to engage in fisticuffs also, but not in the official squared circle-the ring- with a referee.
Star quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton attacked one of his team mates because during a practice game the player intercepted one of his passes, and then ridiculed him. Cooler heads prevailed and the scuffle was broken up before any injuries occurred.
However, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith was not so fortunate since in an altercation with a team mate he was hit with a vicious right hand punch, resulting in his jaw severely broken in 2 places. He will be out of play time for at least 10 weeks.
The damage was severe enough that the surgeon had to repair it with metallic plates and screws. It could result in a season ending injury.
According to reports after the altercation, Geno Smith the N.Y. Jets starting Quarterback under new head coach, Todd Bowles, seems to have leadership problems.
Many in the Jets locker room do not respect him which was enhanced when he refused to pay back a $600.00 dollar loan that 2nd year player Jets linebacker Ikemefuna Chiendum Enememkpali, known as “Ike”, paid for a flight and limo service accommodations so that Smith could attend his fund-raiser of his youthful football camp foundation.This program is to help young kids in Texas where Ike is from.
Geno Smith could not attend due to the fact that the death of a family friend occurred at the same time.
Ike Enemenkpali did express to a friend in Texas, Valentino Bishop, that although he was indeed troubled by Smith’s absence, the first thing that Smith should’ve done when he got back to New York was to apologize and pay him back. Geno Smith did neither.
Although Ike was very disappointed he understood the family emergency and he just asked for a refund of the money he paid. Smith never kept his promise to pay Ike back.
Ike not making $1.300 million like, Smith repeated his demands for the refund.
Ike continued and escalated his demands to be paid as he was continuously ignored by Smith to the point that after a practice session on Tuesday, August 11th, they began to argue about the debt and Geno Smith was quoted as saying “Well you are not going to do anything about it”, as he taunted and pointed his fingers in Ike’s face.
Perhaps in that moment of blind rage, Ike punched Smith breaking his jaw in 2 places.
There were many questions and comments as to why no teammates interceded in this escalating argument, and the comments made by many undisclosed Jet players was that Smith really wasn’t well liked nor respected by many Jets who felt he “got what he deserved”, because he was not a leader and not to be trusted.
Another unidentified Jet player comically said , “we have an ‘A.T.M.’ machine in the locker room, Geno could’ve withdrawn the $600.00 dollars from it and saved himself the grief of a broken jaw.”
At a press conference after he was waived by the N.Y. Jets and signed by the Buffalo Bills, Ike apologized to the Jets organization, his former teammates, and the fans, but did not apologize to Geno Smith.
Some Jet fans viciously expressed gratitude to Ike Enemenkpali for the punch because now “the Jet season would be saved for at least 10 weeks with a better quarterback.” Fans can be very cruel and cold blooded at times.
The Jets have tried to salvage the season by signing Ryan Fitzpatrick a 32 year old 11 season veteran quarterback who has played for 6 N.F.L. teams since he was drafted out of Harvard University in 2005.
Fitzpatrick who was actually very close to Smith as his back-up, expressed sincere disappointment of what happened to Geno Smith but did state honestly that “I will take advantage of this opportunity to be the starting quarterback no matter how long I would play”.
Fitzgerald further stated that he hoped to lead the Jets to a Super Bowl championship.
There is a growing possibility that Geno Smith’s jaw injury will not heal in time for any game, and he could be out for the season with the possibility of being waived.
In a pre-season game, Saturday, August 29, 2015, Jets quarterback replacement Ryan Fitzpatrick impressed the Jets management by leading the team to a 28-18 victory over the New York Giants.
It seemed like a temporary relief since Fitzpatrick completed 9 of 14 passes for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also displayed good leadership.
Ike Enemenkpali born in Pfluggerville, Texas of Nigerian parents had a history of anger management problems.
At 19 years of age he assaulted an off duty Police Officer. After he was arrested and charged with simple battery, he was sentenced to 13 month probation, 32 hours of community service and was ordered to take anger management courses.
One of Ike’s sisters, Nneka is a professional basketball player with the W.N.B.A. Team, Seattle Storm.
It is somewhat shocking when you know that boxing is the only sport where you are supposed to hit your opponent, yet we have witnessed throughout the years unexpected but vicious “boxing matches” which resulted in “benching-clearing” brawls in the other sports such as, Baseball, Basketball, Football, Soccer, etc.
In 1995 the great Michael Jordan, gave his Chicago Bulls teammate Steve Kerr a black eye during a practice game because Kerr pushed him. How juvenile can you get!
In 1977 Reggie Jackson was going to fight Yankee Manager Billy Martin because he took him out of a game. Fortunately, Yankee catcher Elston Howard stepped in between them, and cooler heads prevailed.
In 2003 Oakland Raiders Bill Romanowski, in a scuffle with teammate Marcus Williams ripped off his helmet and then broke his left eye socket with a punch.
Some of these “in-house brawls” throughout these decades of sports tragically have resulted in season ending or career ending injuries. “Sad and Touching”!
My Black Star News readers, what is your opinion on Geno Smith’s and Ike Enemenkpali’s altercation?