Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco 49ers have a lot on their plate this week, and it’s not all concerning their match against the Indianapolis Colts.
The 49ers’ franchise has dealt with a multitude of character issues, following their loss in Super Bowl XLVII, last February. The Super Bowl hangover hasn’t really seemed to affect the 49ers on the field so far this season, but the team has been hit hard by incidents which have occurred off the field. The most recent (and polarizing) issue occurred in the early hours of Friday morning, involving LB-Aldon Smith.
Smith, one of the top players on their team, was involved in a suspicion of DUI charge around 7am Friday morning. Smith was recorded to have a blood alcohol level of .15, after he was involved in a single-car crash, when his vehicle hit a tree. Pills and marijuana were also found in the vehicle. Around noon, Smith had been released on bail, and was already back at team practice. Smith is expected to play against the Colts on Sunday.
Incidents such as these are not foreign to Aldon Smith. In fact, Friday’s arrest is the second DUI charge Smith has received since early last year. The facts are what they are, and the fact is also that Aldon Smith is back on the field. The questions remain, should Smith even be out of jail yet, much rather playing football in a high-profile NFL game this Sunday?
Smith’s last DUI was reduced to a lesser charge, but this current incident shows an obvious pattern of insubordination and recklessness. Considering how many legal and conduct issues the NFL has had to deal with in 2013, it would be expected that the league could crack down in this case. Knowing these facts, why would the 49ers not crack down on Smith first?
Smith’s current problems will come out in the courts, but his actions should be dealt with by his employers. Showing up drunk or hung over to work is an issue in itself, but coming to team practice fresh from jail is an obvious red flag. Head coach Jim Harbaugh obviously wants to defeat the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, and to rebound from their loss last week against the Seattle Seahawks. Still, is a statement win more important than making a statement on morality?