After news broke that former Jets linebacker IK Enemkpali punched quarterback Geno Smith in the face and broke his jaw, sidelining him for six to ten weeks, the NFL world began wondering the cause of the fight.
Though the punch was described as a “sucker-punch,” nobody knew the source, other than Smith reportedly put his finger in his Enemkpali’s face.
The most obvious guess was the fight began over money, which ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed in a report on his Facebook page.
Schefter reports that Smith owed Enemkpali $US600 from a plane ticket and hadn’t repaid him. Schefter wrote:
At the heart of the dispute between former Jets LB IK Enemkpali and quarterback Geno Smith is $US600 that Enemkpali believed Smith owed him, per league sources. Enemkpali purchased a plane ticket for Smith to attend his July 11 football camp at Pfugerville High School in Pfugerville, Texas. However, days before the camp, a person close to Smith was killed in a motorcycle accident in Miami and Smith did not attend Enemkpali’s camp, per sources. After Smith did not attend, Enemkpali demanded that the Jets’ quarterback refund him the $US600 he allegedly used to purchase a plane ticket. Smith told Enemkpali he would reimburse him the money, but he did not. Enkempali confronted Smith today about the money and the confrontation ended in a punch and broken jaw.
Many others reporters, including NFL Network’s Albert Breer and the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta, are reporting the same thing.
The story sheds light on what new head coach Todd Bowles meant when he said the fight was “childish” and the two players could have talked it out.
The Jets immediately cut Enemkpali afterward, with Bowles saying, “You don’t walk up to another man and punch him in the face.”
Enemkpali released a statement apologizing to the Jets and their fans, saying, “Geno and I let our frustrations get the best of us.”
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