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The Shooting Death of Will Smith

Episode 3 of RED CARDS unpacks the shooting of former Saints defensive end Will Smith. The investigation takes us to New Orleans, a vibrant city with a historically controversial legal system.

In this episode of RED CARDS, a fender bender turns violent, leading to the shooting death of New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith on April 9, 2016. At trial, former New Orleans prep football star Cardell Hayes testified he shot Smith in self defense, claiming the retired football player was the aggressor.

Security camera footage from that night shows Smith's car leaving the French Quarter Festival and lightly rear-ending another vehicle. An altercation ensued, culminating in Hayes firing shots at Smith and his wife Racquel, killing the Super Bowl winner and injuring his wife.

Smith family publicist, Lauren Renschler, called it “sick irony” that a New Orleans icon would die in the most typical New Orleans fashion—murder by gun violence. When Hayes was convicted, some rejoiced, while others wondered what would have happened if the roles were reversed, and “Saint Will” was the one claiming self defense.

RED CARDS, presented by Ryot, is a six-part series exploring some of the most notorious true crime stories in sports. New episodes available each Tuesday.