By now most every member of Raider Nation must know of the on-going saga revolving around former Raiders defensive end Anthony Smith a man facing murder charges going back nearly two decades. If you know nothing of the story or you’re looking to try and get a grasp on the mysterious nature of a figure too-real for fiction then checkout the piece Kathy Dobie penned for the February issue of GQ.
Dobie digs through Smith’s past tracing the fragmented details of a man that has been described as a “teddy bear” by former teammate Harvey Williams yet is accused of being linked to crimes of arson, torture, impersonating an officer and multiple murders.
Obviously the many negative stigmatisms associated with the Raiders franchise are what give this story the legs that have carried it in and out of the news cycle over the last year and a half. However Dobie’s research based on countless interviews, the findings of police investigations and some tedious attention to details exhumes a story so chilling and haunting that Smith’s football background becomes mere window dressing.
At one point Smith was a productive pass rusher that met, fell in love with and married former Prince protégé Vanity in the matter of a month. But those that knew Smith, or at least thought they did, saw something happening as his career came to its conclusion.
Despite being married to a lawyer Smith was said to spend a lot of his time with known gang affiliates. His cell phone records and a stolen vehicle connect him to a homicide in Lancaster, California, while another two murders that occurred over a decade ago suddenly came to light when a cold case was reopened. An arson fire at a business in Santa Monica turned up countless pieces of mail and magazines with Smith’s address on them.
Yet no matter the evidence nothing has stuck to Smith who is described as calm and composed whenever he takes the witness stand and to date has not been convicted of anything. Interestingly those that know Smith say they no longer recognize who he is as if his personality has shifted. Even officers that have interrogated Smith have said the same thing as he goes from sad and remorseful one minute to cold and calculating the next.
Whatever comes of this all-too-real drama what will always remain are countless tragedies with no answers. Perhaps we’ll never know what shaped Smith into a man framed as a violent criminal hell bent on revenge. Then again maybe this is was just a man used as a pawn in someone else’s game. That one can even say that of someone accused of such heinous acts is frightening in itself. One thing is for sure, we haven’t heard the last of Anthony Wayne Smith and for all we know Dobie’s well-crafted piece is only the tip of this iceberg.