Steve Smith-Malcolm Jenkins Fight: How Should Roger Goodell Respond?

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIOctober 9, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 9: Steve Smith #89 of the Carolina Panthers catches a 54-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter against Jabari Greer #33 of the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on October 9, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

In case you haven't heard, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith and New Orleans Saints free safety Malcolm Jenkins were at the center of an ugly altercation in the middle of the first quarter of their game today.

Smith out-jumped cornerback Jabari Greer to catch a Cam Newton pass, then shoved Greer to the ground and raced for a 54-yard touchdown. After he was a few steps into the end zone, Saints defensive back Roman Harper nailed him, drawing a penalty for a late hit.

Smith didn't react right away to the cheap shot, but players from both teams got into a shoving match in the corner of the end zone and the veteran wideout got into a fight with Jenkins. At one point with Jenkins on his back, Smith actually lifted him up by his facemask as players on both teams were pushing and shoving.

In the end, only Harper was penalized (15 yards for the original late hit), and no one was ejected.

While it's almost certain that Smith, Harper and Jenkins will all be fined, I personally think commissioner Roger Goodell should suspend both Harper and Smith for a game.

Smith has had disciplinary problems before, as he was suspended for the first two games of the 2008 season after a preseason fight with teammate Ken Lucas. He has always been known as a bit of a hothead, and grabbing another player by the facemask and lifting him off the ground is inexcusable regardless of who started the fight.

Harper absolutely deserves to be suspended for a game. His hit was very late and was clearly meant to send a message or to injure Smith. You would have a hard time convincing anyone otherwise.

I think Smith and Harper are both fantastic players, but both guys deserve to sit out at least one game for their actions during Sunday's game, and Jenkins deserves to be fined for his part in the altercation.