Did a pizza really cost De’Veon Smith a spot with the USFL's Pittsburgh Maulers?

De’Veon Smith might have lost his spot on the Pittsburgh Maulers over a pizza.

The Pittsburgh Maulers kicked off their USFL season Monday night with a 17-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Bandits, but that’s far from the biggest storyline surrounding the team as the league restarts this spring.

A clip from the “United By Football” documentary the league put out leading up to the season went viral on social media this week due to a strange football controversy.

Maulers head coach Kirby Wilson appeared to cut his running back because he wanted to eat a pizza instead of a chicken salad.


In the clip, Smith told Wilson that he asked a worker at their hotel if he could eat pizza instead of the chicken salad, and that he didn’t say or do anything disrespectful — which Wilson said “will not be tolerated” and that Smith had “crossed the line.”

Clearly, Smith doesn’t understand what happened.

The Maulers then put out a statement Monday afternoon before their season opener, and claimed that it was a pattern of issues that led to the former Michigan running back being released.

“On the first episode of ‘United By Football,’ the weekly USFL all-access docuseries on Fox, De’Veon Smith was shown on camera being cut from our team by coach Kirby Wilson,” the team said.

“The show captures hundreds of hours of film with the intent of providing transparency to fans, but unfortunately, much of the context was left out at this moment. Smith had violated three team rules in a 24-hour span, and in this particular incident, disrespected a cafeteria worker, which wasn’t captured on camera.

“Smith has subsequently reached out directly to coach Wilson to apologize, and asked to be reinstated to the Maulers’ roster.”

That lack of context, as the Maulers claim, seemed to confuse Smith, who went off in a series of tweets almost as soon as the statement was put out.

At least for now, something isn’t adding up. If it was his choice of food that led him to being cut, Wilson and the Maulers will have some explaining to do.

De'Veon Smith
De'Veon Smith may have been cut from the Pittsburgh Maulers over a pizza. (John McCoy/Getty Images)