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Panthers' Smith Charged With Assault

November 23, 2002|From Associated Press

Carolina Panther wide receiver Steve Smith was jailed and charged with misdemeanor assault Friday after attacking a teammate earlier this week.

Anthony Bright, a practice-squad player, had a broken nose and was hospitalized for two nights after the fight, which occurred during a film session Monday. Bright filed a report with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police after his release from the hospital.

The Panthers already suspended Smith for Sunday's home game against Atlanta.

Smith was charged with assault inflicting serious injury, Police Capt. Cam Selvey said. As a misdemeanor, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 120 days imprisonment.

Smith turned himself in to sheriff's deputies around 5 p.m. He was released Friday night after posting $2,000 bond.

It has been a turbulent week for the Panthers (3-7), who released offensive tackle Chris Terry on Wednesday after he was arrested for failing to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge of assaulting his wife.

Smith, an All-Pro kick returner as a rookie last season, has apologized for attacking Bright and has agreed to receive counseling for his temper.

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Garrison Hearst made an emotional apology for using a slur and saying he wouldn't want a gay player as a teammate with the San Francisco 49ers.

Appearing visibly shaken by the controversy caused by his pointed remarks to the Fresno Bee three weeks earlier, the 49er Pro Bowl running back made a short statement at the team's training complex.

"Being an African American, I know that discrimination is wrong," Hearst said. "I was wrong for saying what I said about anybody, any race or any religion. I want to apologize to the San Francisco 49ers organization, the city of San Francisco for the comments that I made, and also to my teammates for bringing this distraction upon us."

The issue of gays in football became a topic of national discussion earlier this season when former NFL defensive lineman Esera Tuaolo revealed his homosexuality. When Hearst was first asked whether he would want a gay player as a teammate, he said he wouldn't, and he twice used a common slur considered derogatory to gays.

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