Jimmy Smith latest player to be arrested in rocky offseason for Ravens

Five team members have had run-ins with the law since February — the most of any NFL team

July 13, 2014|By Aaron Wilson, The Baltimore Sun

One month after coach John Harbaugh emphasized a high standard for players' conduct, starting cornerback Jimmy Smith became the latest Ravens player to be arrested during an unusually rocky offseason.

Smith, 25, was charged Saturday night with failure to obey a lawful order of a police officer, a misdemeanor, after an incident at the Greene Turtle in Towson, making him the fifth Ravens player to be arrested since February.

Police responding to a call about an unconscious woman in a bathroom at the York Road bar said they found Smith helping an intoxicated woman in the women's restroom. When asked to step aside and leave the restroom, Smith refused to comply and became argumentative, and was eventually handcuffed, police said.

When asked for identification, police said, Smith answered: “I'm Jimmy Smith, I play for the Ravens,” before producing his Maryland driver's license.

No other NFL team has had as many arrests as the Ravens this offseason, with the other 31 teams combining for 14 arrests. The number of Ravens arrested this year marks one more than the team's total during the previous six years.

‘Different universe'

“Pro teams are sort of a different universe,” said Sean Brickell, a public relations and crisis communications expert from Virginia Beach, Va., who represents the Norfolk Tides' minor league baseball team. “These guys have extraordinary talents. Most of them are young and have been singled out for their talents and skills and made to feel very special. They're suddenly dealing with a lot of adoration and money and don't really know how to conduct themselves very well yet.”

Ravens officials are aware of Smith's arrest.

“We're gathering information about this,” said Kevin Byrne, Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations.

The highest-profile case involving a Ravens player this year occurred when running back Ray Rice was arrested in February and charged with felony aggravated assault in Atlantic City, N.J., after a physical altercation with his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, whom he later married. Rice resolved his legal situation when he was accepted into a pretrial diversion program that didn't include jail time.

The Ravens and Rice are awaiting word from the NFL on any potential discipline for the three-time Pro Bowl running back from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Rice could face a multigame suspension under the NFL's personal-conduct policy.

A week after Rice was arrested at Revel Casino, wide receiver Deonte Thompson was arrested for felony possession of marijuana in Gainesville, Fla. But Thompson's case was dismissed when another passenger in the car accepted responsibility for the drugs.

Reserve Ravens offensive lineman Jah Reid was arrested in March for misdemeanor battery in Key West, Fla. Reid also was accepted into a pretrial diversion program.

Rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro was charged with misdemeanor destruction of property and drunk and disorderly conduct in May in Williamsburg, Va. He has been assigned a July 31 court date.

During the Ravens' final week of minicamp, owner Steve Bisciotti and director of player development Harry Swayne conducted a meeting attended by every player, coach and member of the front office. The primary message was about respect and acceptance in the workplace, which every NFL team is discussing in the aftermath of a bullying scandal that enveloped the Miami Dolphins last year, as well as the St. Louis Rams' selection of Michael Sam, the first openly gay active player in the NFL, during the draft in May.

‘High standard'

Bisciotti also talked about the pride he has in the organization, and Swayne told players to be careful about how they conduct themselves on social media. The Ravens' first full-squad practice is July 24 at the Under Armour Performance Center.

“It's always the same high standard,” Harbaugh said after the final day of the Ravens' mandatory minicamp in June, when asked if he'll change his message to players because of the way this offseason has unfolded. “We will always have the same high standard for our guys, and it's the same message. …

“And we've emphasized what we need to with our guys. We have good, really good guys. Football matters to them. The more it matters to you, the less inclined you are to do anything to jeopardize that.”

In Smith's case, officers went to the Greene Turtle on York Road on Saturday night after the general manager reported that there was an unconscious woman in a bathroom.

When they arrived, police said, they saw Smith in the women's restroom with an intoxicated woman. The NFL player was assisting the woman when she vomited while leaning over a sink, according to the police report.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.