I showed up at the pro-Steve Smith protest in front of the team store at Bank of America Stadium Thursday. The protest was scheduled for noon; I arrived at 11:55 a.m. At 11:55 there were more medias than protesters. It was close, though, probably seven to five.
Soon, protesters outnumbered us. I don't know how many protesters there were. I would guess 20. But it was a workday. It was 45 degrees. And even though it was lunchtime, there were no food trucks.
And I promise you this -- nobody in Chicago protested because the Bears cut Julius Peppers. And that's not because the temperature there was 27 degrees.
Peppers was an employee, a Carolina Panther before he was a Bear. Smith is more. When many fans look at the franchise, it's Smith's face they see.
Protesters wore 89 jerseys and held up pro-Smith signs as cars and trucks drove past on Mint Street. A dump truck honked and protesters cheered.
True, nobody chanted, "No justice, no peace." But in response to a TV reporter people did chant, "Ice up, son."
I've been around the Panthers since their inception. And I'm not aware of fans ever showing up to support a player they feel was wronged by the organization.
Cool that they cared enough to do it.