Where Will The NFL Draw The Line On Aldon Smith?
After indicating that he had a bomb at LAX airport, linebacker Aldon Smith is apparently his own worst enemy.
One of the best things about the NFL is that despite age, race, your past history or your sexual orientation, you will have a role on one of the 32 NFL teams if you are talented and can contribute something to a team. You could also argue, however, that a player having off-field issues and still being allowed to play is one of the worst aspects of NFL.
Now that a potential bomb threat could be added to the list of crimes committed throughout the years by professional football players, Rodger Goodell has to draw the line of when enough is enough. Smith is obviously not the first player to be accused of breaking the law, but the NFL’s reputation takes a hit whenever one if its employees is involved in illegal activity.
In recent years, Michael Vick is one of the best known cases of a player that committed a crime and was allowed to return to play professional football. After admitting to providing money for gambling for a dog fighting business, Vick spent almost two years in prison. The debate still rages on whether he should be playing in the NFL, and many feel that he should have never been given a second chance.
Others state that while his crimes were horrendous and brutal, he has paid his debt and should be allowed to continue a career in football.
While quarterback Ben Roethlisberger never had to do the time that Vick did, he was accused twice in his career of sexual assault. Even though he was never charged, Roethlisberger did have to serve a four-game suspension in 2010 for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
The league has dealt with murder chargers, vehicle manslaughter and substance abuse, but Smith’s bomb threat is a whole new territory. This incident alone should be enough to have a player banned from the NFL, but with felony counts already charged against Smith, Goodell needs to show that this type of behavior will get you fired.
The league should offer Smith counseling to help him deal with his demons, but him remaining in the NFL would set a terrible example for a sport that doesn’t have the best image to begin with.
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