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Niners Smith pushes U DeFelice, ejected

Week 15: 49ers at Chargers

Niners defensive tackle Justin Smith was ejected from the Thursday night 49ers-Chargers game for impermissible contact with an official (video).

Umpire Garth DeFelice was attempting to break up some post-play shoving when Smith pushed DeFelice’s arm off of him. Whether or not Smith knew it was an official who he shoved back on is irrelevant; it is impermissible contact with the referee. There will likely be a fine of $10,000 coming Smith’s way this week.

DeFelice is obviously a tough guy, as he has been widely recognized for his forearm to Rams running back Kenneth Darby (video below). But you can see for a fraction of a second DeFelice loses his cool, with line judge Jeff Seeman making sure that DeFelice doesn’t do more than throw a flag on the play.

Clete Blakeman was the crew chief for the game.

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Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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One thought on “Niners Smith pushes U DeFelice, ejected

  1. Is it common for NFL Umpires to work games in the same city they currently lives and work? Garth DeFelice grew up in San Diego, went to high school & college, and current lives and works in San Diego. Given all his ties with the Chargers it would seem like he would not even want to umpires Charger games. If he were to make a call against the Chargers this would negatively impact his wholesale business in San Diego. Conversely, calls benefiting the home team would seem to increase his earning potential at his current job?

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