As varying reports circulated about Jets quarterback Geno Smith being removed from a Virgin Airlines flight in Los Angeles, the details remained a he-said, they-said situation.
Either Smith was defiant about ending a cell phone conversation before takeoff and had to be ordered off the plane by the captain (as the airport official alleged), or an airline attendant unplugged Smith’s headphones and “threw them down” (as a supposedly pro-Geno source told ESPN New York). Whatever transpired, Virgin reportedly refused to rebook Smith, who left the airport via car service, according to the omnipresent eyes of TMZ. (In Morgantown, the folks at the Daily Athenaeum weren’t such tattlers.)
Back on the East Coast, Jets beat writer Rich Cimini wrote a quick-turn column on what Smith—who this season posted the lowest passer rating of any NFL quarterback with more than two starts—should learn from the incident. Cimini does the best he can, considering he was asked to glean real-world lessons from an event that only carries weight in the tabloid galaxy.
Smith wasn’t arrested and no incident report was filed, meaning it’s unlikely he’ll enter the disciplinary domain of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. And for positive spin, the episode elevates Smith to the pantheon of Alec Baldwin, who was booted off an American Airlines flight in December 2011 for continuing to play Words With Friends on his smartphone after the cabin doors closed. (Come to think of it, Baldwin’s blowup also occurred at LAX. Maybe it’s time for celebs to try the Orange County airport.)
Baldwin’s incident hardly became an impairment. Heck, within five months, he was charming the National Press Club with details of his runway regrets. Maybe Roc Nation will soon bring Smith to a banquet near you.