A Carolina Fan Is Still Asking: Who Is Number 89?

Jennette GrayContributor IMay 27, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 10:  Wide receiver Steve Smith #89 of the Carolina Panthers looks on during warm-ups before the game against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 10, 2009 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Call it fire and ice, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or just the nature of being a star in the modern-day National Football League. Whatever you call it, there’s something oddly intriguing about a guy who can simultaneously be the most liked and the most hated.


It’s why we can’t get enough of T.O. It’s why we care so much about Ochocinco. It’s why we’re all waiting for No. 7 to be allowed to play. 


If you ask every person in this category, they would probably say that they’re just misunderstood. And, to be fair, they’re probably right.


But how do you truly understand someone who never sits down to talk to the press unless they’re forced?


There’s an old saying that goes “actions speak louder than words.” But what if a man’s actions contradict each other?


It’s true. No one is completely evil. No one is completely good. But we all have tendencies. 


Steve Smith’s tendencies confuse me.


Here’s a man who literally throws fits and punches at his teammates. At the same time, he founded an organization dedicated to children and endowed an athletic scholarship.


It got me thinking, who is the real Steve Smith? I have a few questions I’d love to ask and why.


1. How do you think people see Steve Smith?

Often, how we think people see us is different from how we see ourselves. It’s also frequently incorrect. But knowing what someone believes about other’s perception of them can sometimes explain a lot about how they react to different situations.

2. How do you see yourself?

It’s always interesting to see whether a person’s view of who they are is at odds with who they believe the rest of the world believes they are?

3. What makes you happy? What frustrates you the most?

People’s actions are tied to some extent to their emotions. Some people's are more linked than others. 

4. Do you think you have problems managing your anger?              

Steve has had some very prominent heated encounters, including punching a teammate during training camp last season. The fact that this wasn’t an isolated incident makes this a fair question.

5. Why do you think some people feel you do? Or do you believe people think you do?

6. Is there anything you’ve done personally or professionally that you think you’ll never live down? What is it?

We’ve all done or said things that fall just short of being regrets. When you know better, you do better. This is a question I’d like to ask just to see how he’s grown.

7. You and your wife founded an organization, The Posey Foundation, dedicated to helping children develop life-long friendships. The foundation was named after Demetrius Posey. What did his friendship mean to you? You’ve said that he inspired you. In what way was he an inspiration to you?

Obviously, Mr. Posey was important to Mr. Smith. Knowing why helps us understand what he values.

8. Do you ever think about life after football? What does that life look like? Did you ever have doubt that you’d play professional football? What would you have done if you never had the chance?

This is really a question about purpose. It’s to gauge whether he is a man who is structured and planned or a person who lets life happen at will. Not to mention that it’s just fun to know what a person’s second choice at a career would be.

9. In North Carolina, we’ve had a sort of contentious relationship with athletes who have roots in larger cities not really being thrilled about the prospect of playing here.  It’s probably one of the reasons many of Carolina’s draft picks have connections to North Carolina or South Carolina. When you were drafted by Carolina, were you excited? What was your initial impression of the city of Charlotte? Do you think you'll stay here after you’re done playing?

I’m always curious about the impression the Carolinas leave, especially after a certain star basketball player made the news for allegedly saying he wouldn’t play in the NBA if he were drafted by the then Charlotte Hornets.

10. What is the most important thing you’ve been able to do because of the opportunity to play in the National Football League?

Again, I believe what a man values is the best measure of who he is.