Linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, Aldon Smith, and his recent DUI incident made some waves in the NFL this week. Smith will be missing tonight’s game and may be out longer, 49ers CEO Jed York stated last Sunday. Smith was arrested last Friday for suspicion of a DUI after he hit a tree with his truck in an accident. As a result of his arrest, Smith is seeking treatment. "First off, I wanted to apologize to the team, the organization, my family and everybody I let down," Smith said in response to his arrest. "I also wanted to let it be known that this is a problem and it's something that I will get fixed, and that I'll do everything in my power to make sure that this never happens again.”
Aldon Smith's DUI
Smith was still allowed to play in Sunday’s game against the Colts because he admitted he had a problem and was going to get help for it. Smith started for San Francisco and had five tackles in a 27-7 loss. York expressed why he felt his decision to let Smith play in the game was the right thing to do.
"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," York said. "We're not trying to circumvent what the NFL will do. This is about making sure that Aldon has the opportunity to work on something, to get better, and he knows that he has our support and hopefully he has everybody's support in something that is going to be very difficult."
Aldon Smith May Help Break The Stigma Of Addiction
Although driving while under the influence is serious and the incident could have been devastating to more than just Smith’s career, it was interesting to see how the 49ers CEO and the team treated the situation. They seemed to have recognized that Smith may actually have a substance abuse problem, rather than a moral dilemma. This could be a sign of another step in the right direction to break the stigma associated with addiction. Aldon is not only aware of his substance abuse issue, he is also taking accountability and responsibility for his actions by requesting help.
"Aldon Smith is taking a leave of absence to address a personal matter," general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement recently. "The 49ers' organization both respects and supports Aldon's decision and commends him for taking responsibility for his actions. The long-term well-being of our players is paramount and we will stand by Aldon as he works toward addressing this issue."
Aldon Smith's Substance Abuse Problem
Only time will tell if Aldon Smith is serious about getting help for his substance abuse problem. The fact that he publicly admitted there was a problem and that he is apologetic for his actions speaks volumes. If he does get help and comes out on top as a result, he could help not only continue to break the stigma associated with substance abuse, but also bring hope to others who need help for their addiction.
Written By: Watershed Ashling