Whether IK Enemkpali was right or wrong to confront Geno Smith – first verbally, then physically – for Smith not providing reimbursement for a plane ticket he didn’t use is a matter of opinion. In fact, you and your buddies can debate that from now until forever and still not reach a consensus.
One thing, however, cannot be debated: Very few Jets players, if any, think highly of their quarterback.
Indeed, no Jets player came to Smith’s defense in this incident – neither in the moment after he had been punched, nor in the aftermath while addressing media about what happened.
This is stunning.
Do you think one of Peyton Manning’s teammates would punch him in the face? Or one of Tom Brady’s? Or one of Russell Wilson’s? Answer: they wouldn’t. And even if they did, do you not think another teammate would come to Manning’s or Brady’s or Wilson’s aid? Answer: they would.
Given that no one acted on Smith’s behalf, is it fair to say that he has not endeared himself to his teammates?
“That’s what it seems,” Yahoo! Sports NFL analyst Shaun King said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It’s sad. Even understanding that, there are some guys in my neighborhood that I wasn’t best friends with. But if somebody from another neighborhood – and the defense was another neighborhood – if somebody tried to jump one of those guys – (I would have helped the guy from my neighborhood). Even if they weren’t in love with Geno, he’s your starting quarterback. It speaks to them that nothing was done in retaliation. And I know that may seem archaic and caveman-like to some of you listeners, but if you want to have a chance to win on Sunday, you got to back up your starting quarterback.”
The only question now is how will Smith – who could miss 10 weeks recovering from surgery – respond to this incident? Will he be able to bounce back in a positive way, or will it only set him back further in his quest to become a successful NFL quarterback?
“He won’t bounce back in New York,” King said. “I don’t think he’ll get another chance with the Jets to be the starting quarterback there – and it’s not because I think Ryan Fitzpatrick is that good. I just think that the fact that no one helped him speaks volumes to where he’s at currently in his relationship with his teammates, and I don’t think that can change at this point. It’ll be an interesting case study once he leaves New York how many opportunities he gets.”
A case study.
King didn’t even have to be asked to elaborate on what he meant by that.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I like to be completely honest. That’s why you guys have me on,” King prefaced. “Even though quarterbacks have gotten opportunities to be starters, we haven’t been recycled starters. Very few times has an African American quarterback failed as a starter and gotten multiple opportunities to go somewhere else (to) be a starter. So it’ll be interesting to see if Geno ever gets another chance to be the unquestioned starter somewhere else.”