Updates from Thursday, Jan. 23
Virgin Air has reviewed Geno Smith’s “incident” and calls it a “misunderstanding.” They also welcome him back onboard “any time”— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 23, 2014
Kimberley Martin of Newsday passed along a statement from Smith:
Geno Smith statement: "I really appreciate that Virgin America took this seriously, looked into this matter..." (Contd) #jets— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) January 23, 2014
Geno (contd) "....and followed up with me. I look forward to flying their airline again soon.”— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) January 23, 2014
New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith is denying rumors that he was escorted off of an airplane by police at LAX on Friday, Jan. 17 following a reputed verbal altercation with airline ticket agents.
Deadspin's Timothy Burke initially reported the rumor after several witnesses at LAX took to social media. However, TMZ Sports caught up with Smith at the airport and the quarterback quickly shot down the rumor, claiming that he wasn't kicked off of his flight and that he was headed home.
While a photo captured at LAX and acquired by Deadspin appears to show Smith talking with police, there's no telling what actually transpired:
Geno Smith allegedly escorted off plane by LAX cops: http://t.co/0qJNTlfafh— Deadspin (@Deadspin) January 17, 2014
According to Newsday's Kimberly A. Martin, an incident report can only be filed if someone was arrested as a result:
She said names can only be released and incident/police reports filed if an individual is arrested -- which Geno wasn't. So there's that.— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) January 18, 2014
Martin reports that the Jets are not commenting on the situation at this time:
#Jets spokesman on Geno/LAX situation: “We are aware of the report, and we are researching the facts. We will have no comment at this time.— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) January 18, 2014
Martin also provides insight into what may have caused the incident:
Geno was on his way to Ft. Lauderdale, per source. Flight attendant asked Geno to unplug his headphones, but Smith didn't hear him...— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) January 18, 2014
Brian Costello of The New York Post provides a different version of the story;
So airport official said Geno refused to get off his phone and was booted from flight. Source close to Geno blames flight attendant. #nyj— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) January 18, 2014
The incident witnesses described on Twitter reportedly came about after airline officials put Smith and others on standby for their flight at LAX, per Deadspin's "tipster:"
We were waiting for our flight at LAX to Vegas and were put on standby on Virgin American just like Geno. We were told to get seat assignment at 2:40. Apparently Geno was not on board with that. My friend walked over to discuss seat assignment and Geno was saying to airline ticket agents, "[Expletive] that, this is [expletive]." "Why the [expletive] do I have to wait until 2:40." He would not let it go. He continued to curse and be loud for about 5 minutes. Police were called. They talked for a few minutes and then 3 officers escorted him out of the terminal.
Regardless of whether Smith did anything wrong or was actually escorted out by police, it's clear the first-year signal-caller could do without the negative publicity as he heads into a critical offseason.
After all, Smith is coming off of a disappointing debut season with the Jets that saw him throw 21 interceptions and fumble eight times. The 23-year-old started all 16 regular-season games for New York, but was unable to lead Gang Green to the playoffs, going 8-8.
A standout in four seasons at West Virginia, Smith was selected with the 39th overall pick by the Jets in the 2013 NFL draft as the team's next franchise quarterback.
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