I guess I’m argumentative this morning, so please bear with me. Many of you have written to the blog or my email disagreeing with my column, disagreeing specifically with my assertion the Niners never should have played Aldon Smith on Sunday. Some of you said it was the best thing for him to play. Some of you said I should get off my moral high horse. All of you were polite and I appreciate that. I hope you think what I am about to write also is polite.
If you had a teenage son who did what Smith did, how would you act? Yes, I am equating Smith with a teenager — you may disagree. So, your teenage son gets drunk, drives his car into a tree and, in addition, has an illegal gun charge hanging over his head. What do you do? According to some Zohn readers, you reward him. You tell him, “Play well in the game, son, because the game is what matters. We’ll deal with the booze and the car and the guns at a later date.”
I hope you would say, “We can’t reward your behavior by letting you play in the game. You lose all your privileges right now. We ground you. We put you in a clinic ASAP.”
That is the responsible course of action. Readers who argue otherwise are arguing out of self-interest — they wanted Smith to play. They also are defending the team at all costs. Whatever the team decides to do is right. Fans often think like that.
I understand alcoholism is a disease. I empathize with people who are ill. But there is a moral and legal component to what Smith did. He chose to drive drunk and he chose to shoot guns not legally registered. He is responsible for those actions and, in these cases, he is not a victim, although many fans and apologists want to portray him as a victim who needs only our sympathy. If he had driven over a child instead of driven into a tree, the law would not have portrayed him as a victim.