NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There was no hiding it after the Jets-Lions game at MetLife Stadium — Jets quarterback Geno Smith had a bad day and he let fans in the stands know it as he yelled an expletive while leaving the field on Sunday, September 28.
“First of all, I want to apologize, you know, if any kids saw me making any negative remarks walking off the field. I kind of let my temper get the best of me in that situation,” Smith said to open his postgame news conference.
But what set him off? Was it frustration from his own lackluster performance, or fans calling on backup Michael Vick to replace him?
In an exclusive interview with CBS 2, one New Jersey man said he believes he sent the second-year quarterback over the edge.
“And as he’s coming off, I’m yelling at him, and him and I made contact. And my buddy and I are standing next to each other and you know, we’re just yelling at the guy,” Morganville resident Al Zapata told CBS 2.
Zapata says he locked eyes with Smith as he screamed at him from the elite seats of the Toyota Coaches Club.
“As he was getting closer, I said, ‘Hey Geno! You suck!’” Zapata said.
Zapata says Smith then looked directly at him and screamed, “F— you!”
While Zapata is confident he is to blame, the Jets organization has their doubts and tells CBS 2, “Geno Smith says he did not respond to the fan who said ‘you suck.’”
The Jets wouldn’t reveal the fan comment Smith claims made him lose his cool and also would not comment on any fine he may face for his outburst.
Jets owner Woody Johnson says 23-year-old Smith has some maturing to do.
“There’s a lot on his shoulders. A lot of growing up; a lot of learning how to deal with certain issues,” Johnson said.
Zapata, who happens to be a New York Giants fan, says he regrets heckling Smith and doesn’t think the quarterback should be fined.
“I feel bad because, you know what? I didn’t think it would be this,” he said. “It’s a first offense. It was a tough game. There’s so much going on in the NFL already. This is such a little, stupid thing.”
The Jets say they don’t believe Zapata’s comments caused the outburst because they say Smith hears those types of comments all the time and never loses it.
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