Justin Smith, a defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, was ejected from last night's game against the San Diego Chargers after pushing aside referee Gartth DeFelice. While Smith appeared unaware it was in fact a ref he brushed away, his action resulted in a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty and an automatic ejection.
The 49ers, down 7-0 at that point, went on to lose the game 34-7. Smith, talking to reporters after the game, had absolutely no idea that DeFelice was the man who he shoved away. He told CSNBayArea:
"I wasn't even aware it was an official at first," Smith said. "It was me and the tight end and next thing I know, there's an arm and just a reaction. A rule's a rule. If you touch an official, you're out. It is what it is. Unfortunately, I couldn't be out there and play."
DeFelice was trying to separate Smith from Chargers tight end Kris Wilson, when Smith reacted on impulse. Unfortunately for Smith and the 49ers, that impulse always results in a non-negotiable ejection. When you mess with a ref, you get the stripes.
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