After laying a brutal body check on Blake Griffin, Jason Smith raised his arms to the crowd like a professional wrestler, soaking in the moment.Now, Smith is on his knees, begging for our collective forgiveness.
On Friday, the NBA hit Smith with a 2-game suspension for the foul, which was ruled a flagrant 2 and led to his immediate ejection from a Thursday night game between the Clippers and Hornets.
On Saturday, Smith issued a formal apology through the Hornets for the play after previously apologizing to Griffin after the game.
Here's the statement.
I deeply regret the incident that took place during the 4th quarter of our game vs. the Clippers on Thursday night.Well, you've got to give him credit. That's a thorough apology. Any time you're expressing remorse to an entire community -- in this case, the basketball world -- there's probably some genuine regret behind those words.
Not only do I want to express my sincere apology to Blake Griffin and the Clippers organization, but also to all basketball fans that might have the impression from seeing the play, that it's okay to go beyond playing aggressive and attempt to injure someone during the course of a game. It's never been a part of my makeup to intentionally hurt anyone on the court, nor ever will be, and I have the utmost respect for Blake and the game of basketball to ever abuse it in any fashion.
I also want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Hornets fans for the consequences of my actions
It's likely starting to sink in for Smith that, given Griffin's starpower, this will be the play that defines his NBA career and reputation. The foul was a terrible decision, without question, but it was made in the blink of an eye at full speed. Now he's forced to live with the consequences for years.
The good news is that Griffin was able to shake it off and wasn't seriously injured. The bad news is that Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro hasn't been fired yet.