Jed York announced that Aldon Smith will be on an indefinite leave of absence from the San Francisco 49ers. Some question the timing of this decision. Most importantly, this is a decision that will benefit Aldon Smith himself. The decision is not one that was made with punishment in mind.
There are a few alarming things that can be taken from the recent incident regarding Smith. His DUI happened at 7:00 AM on a day when practice was scheduled to start at noon. The question has to be asked, where was he headed so early and what was he doing with enough alcohol in his system to have registered a .15 on the breathalyzer? If Smith was intending on going to practice, would anyone have noticed that he was intoxicated and if so, what would have been the consequences?
The idea that Smith may have been asleep with his foot on the gas pedal is alarming. There was a good amount of tire tracks left on the sidewalk at the scene of the incident. Thank goodness it was a tree that he hit and not a person.
The 49ers had to take a hard stance on this issue. Jim Harbaugh decided to let Aldon play one game. The idea was presented to Trent Baalke and he approved. Now Smith is out indefinitely. This is the right thing to do because the young man needs to do some serious soul searching. He needs to truly see the opportunity that is in front of him. He needs to realize that there are so many consequences for bad decisions. Aldon Smith needs to consider these consequences before using poor judgement or putting himself into another bad situation.
The path that Smith is walking is not one that is likely to have a positive outcome. There has to be some sort of change. It is possible to turn a negative into a positive. These kind of dark times are when character is truly formed. Sometimes an event like this is needed to make a person slow down. That is exactly what Smith has to realize. He has to slow down. The time that he spends in rehab will play a major role in his getting things back in order.
This article is not to in any way beat up on Aldon Smith. He is a young man that is guilty of making some bad choices. He is guilty of being very careless. Hopefully he can realize how fortunate he is to have this happen to him and how it can be a turning point. The 49ers seem to realize it and they are willing to support Aldon Smith as long as he is willing to seek help. “We support Aldon if Aldon is willing to fight for himself and try to make this right and I will stand here and I will support him and I’ll take any shots that anybody wants to direct at the organization, you can direct them to me,” York said. “And I will support Aldon as long as he’s willing to work at this and fight to get better.”
Comments like that are evidence of the support system that Aldon Smith has in place. The organization has his back and will do their best to ensure that he gets things in order. We need to not focus so much on punishing Smith for what has happened and focus more on how to help him use better judgement and make better decisions. Hopefully the time that he spends at the in patient rehabilitation center will do just that.