|Friday, November 22
Bright suffered broken nose in fight during film session
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers 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 following the fight, which occurred during film session on Monday. Bright filed a report with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police following his release from the hospital.
The Panthers already suspended Smith for Sunday's home game against Atlanta.
"We knew this was a possibility,'' Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said of Smith's arrest.
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.
Hurney said Smith's arrest would not change the team's punishment, which has been criticized by some as too lenient
"We made our decision after gathering the facts. We've given our reasons for that decision,'' Hurney said.
The franchise has been plagued by off-the-field problems in recent years. Most notably, former receiver Rae Carruth is in jail for hiring hit-men to kill his pregnant girlfriend, and the wife of former running back Fred Lane is charged in his death.
On Thursday, Hurney vehemently defended the organization against claims it doesn't properly address its problems and punishes its players too lightly.
"There's a lot of issues around the league that don't get out. We are very open with them and we address them and we don't dismiss them,'' Hurney said. "I believe you ask any team in the league, they'll tell you we address it.''