By Jerrell Richardson
There was a rumor that San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was assaulted while visiting his college alma-mater, Missouri, during the team’s bye week. The story was broke by a local sports reporter who tweeted that Smith was attacked outside of a restaurant but was not injured. Smith has since denied the report and San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh has acknowledged that he and Smith have spoken about it and it’s a non-issue. This is probably due to the fact that the rumor appears to be just that, a rumor. A closer look at the facts make the story seem highly unlikely, but it does put the spotlight back on a player who is starting to pile up off the field incidents as much as sacks, creating cause for concern that the talented linebacker might be more trouble then he is worth.
Don’t Believe The Hype
In this case Aldon Smith appears to be telling the truth. The most telling sign is that there was no police report filed. Why is that telling? That either means that this attack happened out in front of people who watched a local former college standout get assaulted and did not call the police, or there were no witnesses to the incident. If there were no witnesses, then who broke the story? Aldon Smith’s ego might stop him from going to the police and telling them that he was assaulted, but if someone called the police and reported that someone with the celebrity of Aldon Smith was being attacked, especially in Missouri, a police report would be filed. How likely is it that the only person to hear about it was a local reporter, especially in an age with such easy access to social media?
Trend That Needs To Stop
Although it appears as though there was no incident, the fact of the matter is that Aldon Smith has seen his name in the headlines a lot recently, and some of it is not for his play on the football field. San Francisco has always prided itself in having players who have the right behaviors off the field and Smith is skating on thin ice as he continues to find himself in the middle of some story. In his brief NFL career he has been charged with a DUI, was stabbed at his house trying to break up a fight, and right before this year’s home opener he received minor injuries as the passenger in a vehicle involved in an accident after the driver had to swerve to miss a deer. With a checkered past, it was not a surprise to hear his name in yet another non-football related story, but he is playing for a team (and in a league) that will cut ties with him if he doesn’t change his ways.
Give Him Time
What is hopeful, though, is that he is young, and like any person has to learn from his mistakes. Take out the DUI and none of the issues are really a character concern — it’s more of Smith putting himself in bad situations. He will either learn how to avoid these problems or could find himself on another team, or out of the NFL. It might be unfair, but such is the life a professional athlete and he can’t complain. For pro athletes, perception is reality, so even if its never his fault he needs to stay out of the news. To help in his maturation process is a great coaching staff and a host of players around him who can show him the right way to conduct himself off the field. If Aldon Smith listens to the right people, then he will go down as a great pass rusher and not be known for some off-the-field controversy.
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Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. His work can be found on Examiner.com.