Notebook: Carolina WR Smith arrested, charged in teammate attack

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith was arrested yesterday on an assault charge stemming from an attack that left a teammate hospitalized and out for the season.

Smith, 23, turned himself in at Mecklenburg County jail. He was photographed, fingerprinted, then released without paying a bond.

The charge, assault inflicting serious injury, is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine, community service or jail time, at a judge's discretion.

The charge against Smith came after an incident Monday in the Panthers' film room involving practice squad player Anthony Bright. The team's wide receivers were watching a video of Sunday's game against Tampa Bay, when Bright asked to see a play again and apparently angered Smith. The altercation lasted less than a minute and was broken up by other players.

Bright was hospitalized at Carolinas Medical Center on Monday and Tuesday nights. His agent, Malachi Henry, said he had plastic surgery to repair a broken nose. He also suffered eye socket damage.

The team suspended Smith for tomorrow's game against Atlanta — a punishment that will cost him a week's salary of $10,764. He also has been ordered to undergo anger-management counseling.

Panthers General Manager Marty Hurney said he doesn't expect the arrest to affect Smith's suspension.

"I don't think so because we came up with our decision after investigating and getting the facts," he said.


• San Francisco RB Garrison Hearst made an emotional apology for using a slur and saying he wouldn't want a gay player as a teammate with the 49ers.

Appearing shaken by the controversy caused by his pointed remarks to the Fresno Bee three weeks earlier, the 49ers' Pro Bowl running back made a short statement at the team's training complex.

"Being an African American, I know that discrimination is wrong," Hearst said. "I was wrong for saying what I said about anybody, any race or any religion."

Several team officials condemned Hearst's remarks, but Coach Steve Mariucci said the running back won't be fined or disciplined by the 49ers. Mariucci also apologized for not addressing the issue sooner.