Blogged by: Tashyra Ayers | F3 Blog Chief Editor & Founder | Around the NFL
Will Smith was more than just a Super Bowl Champion and NFL Pro Bowler, he was also a father to three children – William, Wynter, and Lisa – and husband to Racquel Smith.
We’ve all heard the news of the fatal shooting by Cardell Hayes that caused Will to loose his life suddenly, and left Racquel shot in the leg. This is nothing less than a tragedy in the NFL community, but most importantly for the loved ones of the Smith family. There are three children that will no longer have the benefit of their father being around to share pivotal moments and milestones in their lives. All for what? Since Saturday’s incident when the former New Orleans Saints’ player and his 34 year-old wife were shot, there has been some light shed on the situation – including events that led up to Will’s death.
According to ESPN and USA Today, Smith and his wife had dinner with a police officer who was named a participant in the 2005 shooting of Hayes’ father. Although Hayes sued the police department and a number of officers involved – approximately 12 – the offer Smith had dinner with that evening said that he was not aware of the shooting. Ironically, the officer also claims that he was not aware of the lawsuit that Hayes initiated due to the death of his father. That federal lawsuit was later settled out of court with limited public information provided on the terms of the settlement.
Now a widow, Racquel was said to be treated at a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries. However, this is no less than a life-altering and certainly an unimaginable chain of events she will face. Chain-of-events as this is merely the beginning of a long list of emotions and questions that will arise during the next few days, weeks, months, and years that follow such a horrific act of violence. Horrific and foolish.
It has been said by Cardell Hayes’ (the shooter) high school and semi-pro league coaches that he was a mild-mannered and even-tempered person never showing signs of aggression or temper issues. The message seemed to be consistent from most who knew him, and of Will for those who knew him as well. But does lack of visible aggression mean someone is not capable of causing harm or be responsible for a fatality? Many questions arose and remain unanswered: How did two mild-mannered men end up in this type of altercation? Was dinner with the police officer just hours before a coincidence? Did Will and Cardell know one another outside of a simple fender bender?
Aside from all the questions we as media my have, the greatest and most difficult questions will come from the children of Will and Racquel Smith. Answering those questions is an insurmountable task that none of us would want to take on. As someone who has lost her Mother and many other close family members, the questions remain for an indefinite amount of time. For Mrs. Smith, loosing her husband is a mountain to climb, and then at that peak there’s the valley experience of watching her children grow and create memories absent their father.
Despite the second degree murder charge Hayes’ has received (who used a legally registered gun), and the $1 million bail set, we cannot help but to think about the family in this situation. Here at Female Football Frenzy (F3), we are mothers ,wives, business women, engtreprenuers, and of course fans of the game. To hear and see this type of tragedy pulls on our heart strings. Along with our sentiments, prayers, and well-wishes there has been an outpouring of condolences on social media and from key people in the NFL community. “…this is a tragic loss of life…” said NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell.
Drafted 18th overall in 2004 from Ohio State University, Will Smith was a top-notch defensive player making a career high 13 tackles that helped lead the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl victory in 2009. He ranked 4th in team history with 67.5 tackles for the New Orleans Saints – where he spent his entire NFL career.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of Will and Racquel Smith.