Panthers Smith Accused of Cheap Shot

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 13: Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak (right) shakes hands with Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera at the end of the game at Bank of America Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Titans defeated the Panthers 30-3. (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)

We all witnessed one of Panthers WR Steve Smith's lowest points towards the end of the Titans game when he got chippy with Titans DB Alterraun Verner. Smith got flagged for holding on the play that then turned into a scrum between the two players. Here's how Verner described it:

Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith was accused of taking a cheap shot in Week 10 against the Tennessee Titans. "He was frustrated, and he took a cheap one at me," Titans CB Alterraun Verner said. "He kind of clothes-lined me and threw me on the ground. I don't even know what all went down. Someone told me tried to sock me when I was on the ground."

There were three personal fouls called in the last two minutes including one on LT Jordan Gross that was offset by a similar call against Titan Will Hayes. The point being it was the culmination of a lot of emotion by the Panthers who were clearly frustrated by the outcome of the game. So do you believe Smith was at fault in this or was it the Titans who were egging it on? 

You might recall Smith later got real testy with Scott Fowler in the locker room and even called himself a 'thug':

Me: Steve, what happened at the end of the game?

Smith: You saw it. You're going to write about it. You write, Scott.

Me: I don't know what the ...

Smith: I don't really care, Scott. That's how I feel right now. I feel like crap. I'm not going to sit here and explain, I'm not going to apologize. This is me.

I wouldn't call that a very professional response to a guy just trying to do his job. I can;t say Fowler was out of line since he never even finished his question. 

Well HC Ron Rivera has now weighed in on it, which we will discuss after the jump (with a fan poll)

"To me, this is professional football," Rivera continued. "Act like a professional on the football field whether you're winning or you're losing. And that really bothers me. It really does. Because this game is about competition and competing and being the best, it's not about all that other stuff that goes on. That's a bunch of bull. It really is. There should be more pride in winning and losing than I saw yesterday from both teams."

I couldn't say it any better, be a professional whether you win or lose. Rivera goes on to say he was not upset at Jordan Gross because he was defending a teammate:

"We did have an incident where one of our players did get hit from behind and another player defended him," Rivera said. "Those things I can live with. The other ones I don't. Those are the things I disagree with."

More proof for me we have our coach and that Rivera will turn this thing around in due time. He has the right mentality and focus to get it done, he just needs to continue to instill this level professionalism that will bring confidence and I think, victories. 

So what you think of Steve Smith after his 'cheap shot' and does it change your opinion of Smith?

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