On September 20th, just over two weeks ago, the San Francisco 49ers’ linebacker Aldon Smith had been arrested for the suspicion of drunken driving and marijuana possession. I was able to come across two interesting articles (links below) regarding the decision made by the 49ers’ too allow Aldon too not only participate in the teams practice 4 hours after the incident but to take part in the teams game against the Indianapolis Colts 2 days later. The first article written by Steve Busfield provides direct quotes from the 49ers’ CEO Jed York regarding the teams decision to allow Aldon too play Sundays game. York states, “Our opinion is if you’re sitting someone down and paying them to sit down when they’re going to seek treatment in the future, we didn’t feel like that was an appropriate punishment.” The article then later goes into some policy details noting how the 49ers’ and the commissioner Roger Goodell cannot suspend Smith until the case was adjudicated. The article discusses the substance-abuse policy as being a high concern to the commissioner and league, but until settled in court it seemed as though making the right ethical decision was in the organizations hands. The second article by Greg Bedard really depicted the 49ers’ decision to play Smith negatively and presented an alternative course of action he felt the team should have taken. Bedard presents the term accountability several times and believes that the 49ers’ failed to hold Aldon accountable for his actions and referred to the 49ers’ decision as “deplorable; showing that the organization doesn’t stand for anything but winning games.” Bedard felt that Aldon should have been on the sideline of the game facing TV cameras and then face the media after the game to take accountability. Although policy was unable to keep Aldon Smith from playing in the game 2 days after his arrest, I feel like the authority of power in the 49ers’ organization had the opportunity to set an example to all NFL players that they shall be disciplined properly and held accountable for their unethical actions. The CEO York had the opportunity and ability to bring about significant change and facilitate action against players committing serious offences but rather allowed their talented linebacker to take the field in hopes of shutting down the opposing teams offence. Maybe stricter policies? Maybe more action from the power of authority through the organizations? What do you think?
Busfield, S. (2013, September 23). 49ers’ Aldon Smith plays against Colts after DUI arrest but before rehad. theguardian Sport. Retrieved from
Bedard, G.A. (2013, September 30) No Win-Win Situation. The MMQB. Retrieved from