Dave Gettleman!! You do not disrespect a legends career, moron!! #89 #keeppounding #keepyourheadupsmitty #Panthers
— Miguel A. Zapata (@MIGZAP21) February 26, 2014
“I doubt they're foolish enough to cut Steve Smith without his replacement on the roster. Even if they are dead set on drafting the best WR available in the first two rounds I doubt they cut Steve Smith.” --Sinestro1982
Reactions to Panther GM Dave Gettleman and head coach Ron Rivera’s recent comments concerning Smith’s future in Carolina have ranged from dismay and disbelief to rage. Whether it has been downright refusal or vicious backlash, fans clearly view Smith as sacred in Carolina--hallowed ground Rivera and Gettleman haven’t earned the right to trounce!
Larson encouraged Smith to react to the hubbub, rather than Gettleman’s full comments. Smith said it “took me by surprise…I don’t really know what to think about it.”
“I’m going to be honest with you, it’ bugged the hell out of me,” Larson responded, before partially quoting Dave Gettleman’s combine press conference. He further prodded, “Steve, that is just disrespectful.”
Carpetbagger Controversy Born: (What was really said)
One thing lost in the media coverage was the context of these comments. Both Gettleman and Rivera’s responses were to questions about their views of Steve Smith as a true #1 receiver and his future offensive role. Additionally, these comments were all in the context of the draft and Carolina’s potential for drafting Smith’s future replacement. There was really no indication, in either the questions or responses, that Carolina is seriously considering parting ways with Smith. It would be reaching to even take away that Carolina is even bent on finding Smith’ replacement in the draft.
It isn’t outrageous to consider Smith a sort of sensitive guy. In the beginning it manifested itself character/personality issues. He admittedly had some regrettable moments early in his career. As he matured, this sensitivity evolved into passion and energy on the field. It’s what has made him great. He is intense. Whether the hand-fighting and trash talking on the field, blowing dudes up with blocks, punching Ken Lucas in the face, post-game sound bites, or the tough love he occasionally gives fans, stuff gets to Smith. The frenzy of coverage has understandably shaped Smith’s perception of the matter. It’s near impossible to not.
The “Carpetbagger Controversy” has reached near nuclear levels. Larson, who played an instrumental role in this coverage, was shocked to hear that the Carolina organization hadn’t reached out to Smith about the matter yet. Gettleman stated at the combine that the Panthers “were being quiet” about the roster, just like every other team preparing for free agency and the draft. The Yankee will likely remain quiet on this issue still because it is a non-issue. Making a formal statement marginalizing scandal, Gettleman may believe, only add unfounded credibility to the coverage.