To recognize today as the day on which US Income Tax Returns are filed, let me offer an observation from a former British Member of Parliament, Jerold Rochwald, with regard to taxes:
“Nuclear physics is much easier than tax law. It’s rational and always works the same way.”
Niners’ linebacker – and sackmaster – Aldon Smith was arrested once again earlier this week. According to reports – and evidently there is some video of the incident – Smith declared at LAX that he had a bomb. He did not, but that statement constitutes a terroristic threat and is therefore something for which one can be taken into custody. Moreover, there are reports that Smith was “unruly” during part of the incident.
If you are an air traveler, you have certainly had a frustrating moment or two getting through security; nevertheless, the operative word here is “frustrating” and one of the measures of adulthood/maturity is the ability to deal with frustration without lashing out at other people or things around you. It is the uncooperative aspect of this story that needs attention even before this matter goes to a court to decide guilt or innocence. The reason I say that is the backstory for Aldon Smith.
More than a year ago, there was an incident at Smith’s home that involved gunshots. No one was injured but in the process of investigating, the police say that they found unregistered assault weapons at Smith’s home. He faces charges for that incident.
Smith has been arrested for DUI twice in the last year or so and missed some games last year while he was in a rehab program.
Now, we have the “bomb threat” incident…
Aldon Smith is 24 years old. I guess it is possible – albeit unlikely – that he actually did not know that one may only own/possess assault weapons in a prescribed manner one part of which is to register them. I believe that it is beyond the realm of possibility that a 24-year old man does not realize that driving under the influence is improper behavior. I also fail to believe that a 24-year old man who likely has flown on commercial airlines more than once in his life does not know that you do not pretend to have a bomb in your possession as you are in the gate area waiting for a plane. My point is that – guilt or innocence aside in this latest event – Aldon Smith is a troubled person.
The Niners’ owner, Jed York, said this:
“A lot of people are working with him, but you don’t want to set up anything that’s uncomfortable and anything that’s beyond what the CBA rules are. You can only do so much. Somebody has to work for himself if they’re going to get through these issues.”
There are layers of significance in that statement. The superficial layer is that the Niners are working to help a troubled young man who happens to be in their employ and who happens to be a very productive employee. The next layer is that the existing CBA sets down rules for what the Niners and the league may and may not do in this matter and that is a shame because without knowing the rules, I am confident that they cannot possibly exist in a form that is constructive for every ongoing and upcoming situation. The final layer is – for me – the most important one:
“Somebody has to work for himself if they’re going to get through these issues.”
If Aldon Smith is eventually to become a mature adult and a constructive member of society, then Aldon Smith is going to have to do some work on his behaviors. It is on him. If anyone tries to ameliorate this by spreading any of the blame or by concocting extenuating circumstances that lead to these behaviors, he/she is really enabling Aldon Smith to do something akin to these things once again.
Let me begin that process of straight talk about all of this right here. Aldon Smith did not “make a bad decision” in LAX earlier this week; he did not “make a bad decision” to drive under the influence more than once. He behaved in one of two ways:
1. He demonstrated that he is too immature to have a driver’s license or to fly commercial airlines on his own despite the chronological age shown on that driver’s license. That immaturity coupled with a history of enabling because he is a great athlete does not allow him to think that consequences are attached to his actions.
2. He is an anti-social person at his core.
As Jed York said, either or both of those conditions can change – but neither will change unless Aldon Smith does a lot of the work necessary to bring about the change.
A variety of NFL teams are about to embark on their first Spring OTAs. The NFL labels these things as “Organized Team Activities”. Actually, if you apply the truth in labeling standards, they would be called “Outrageously Tedious Activities”. News reports from these events will be massively bipolar.
On one hand, everyone was in great shape and everyone looked good and impressed the coaches with their:
a. recovery from injury
c. improved strength
d. positive outlook.
At the other end of the spectrum there may be a season ending or career ending injury during the event, which will be reported as something ever-so-slightly less awful than an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague.
Read OTA reports in that light and it will make your life simpler…
Finally, Greg Cote had this NFL-related comment in the Miami Herald recently:
“The May 8 NFL Draft is less than a month away. Only time for ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay to sneak in about 45 more mock drafts.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………