NFL Hands 49ers' Aldon Smith 9-Game Suspension
Aldon Smith, the San Francisco 49ers standout outside linebacker, has received a 9-game suspension from the NFL for his past legal run-ins.
Aldon Smith's 9-Game Suspension
Throughout his 9-game suspension, Smith will not be paid and will not be permitted to practice with the team or appeal the NFL’s ruling. However, he will be allowed to train at the 49ers facility and go to team meetings, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Smith earlier this month to discuss his punishment for violating the league’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies. Smith had already missed five games in the 2013 NFL season for a September DUI arrest, which led to the athlete entering an alcohol rehabilitation center.
“The issue here is not to discipline players,” Goodell said at the time when asked about what Smith’s ultimate punishment would be from the league. “The issue here is to stop the behavior. And Aldon, to your point, has voluntarily said, ‘I need help.’ We are obviously there to support him, and the 49ers did a great job getting him into a facility to try to get that help. And so we all support that. So, yes, it will be a factor, for sure.”
The National Football League Players Association helped Smith negotiate a disciplinary deal that would allow him to remain a part of the team during his suspension.
NFLPA said: “On Aldon’s behalf, the NFLPA worked with the NFL to craft disciplinary terms that reflect Aldon’s desire to take responsibility for past mistakes and show his commitment to being a dedicated professional by going to work every day to study with his coaches and teammates and train at the facility. The terms of the discipline reflect his desire to show his teammates, employer and fans that he has made real changes to his life since the difficult incidents that are the basis for the NFL’s discipline.”
The San Francisco 49ers have been aware of the reality that they would likely be without the starting defenseman for a good portion of the 2014 season. With that in mind, they were able to prepare for the gap, getting other talented players reps in practice sessions. As for Smith, the 49ers still give the player support to clean up his act and return to the playing field when the time comes.
“Our organization has known this decision would come, and we have prepared for it,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “Aldon has taken responsibility for his actions and has continued to show growth personally and professionally. We will continue to support him, but it is time to put this matter behind us and focus on the season ahead.”
After signing with the 49ers when the squad drafted him seventh overall in the 2011 NFL draft, Aldon was arrested for a DUI in Miami during his rookie season. Though the charges were eventually reduced to reckless driving, he was later arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat at LAX – when it was believed he was intoxicated. His sobriety also came into question when he received stab wounds while trying to disperse people from a party he’d thrown at his home that got out of control in 2012. Adding to situation were guns that officers found in his bedroom that, while purchased legally, had not been properly registered and altered per California law.