The NFL sent us into our three-day weekend with a wonderful bit of news for the Cowboys, Bears, Cardinals, Eagles, Chiefs, Rams, Broncos and Saints. Aldon Smith, who’s gotten in a fair bit of trouble since joining the San Francisco 49ers, was suspended nine games without pay today.
- Because there’s a “nine” in “Forty-Niners.”
- Because the 49ers travel to New Orleans for their ninth game of the season, and Drew Brees is a fragile flower with a clavicle made of fine porcelain.
- Because Bourbon Street.
- Because Roger Goodell enjoys being unpredictable.
- Because the original suspension was either 12 or 16 games, and a successful appeal dropped that number to nine.
I have no idea about any of those, just as I was completely off on the suspension length from the very beginning. Two games, four at the most. I should change my first name to “Chris” after that one. Yeesh.
Update: According to Ed Werder, the suspension consisted of four games for substance abuse, five for personal conduct violations (firearms).
The 49ers reportedly were “bracing” for a suspension lasting as long as eight games, so this isn’t exactly an unexpected slap in the face. And with the NFL dropping the hammer on Josh Gordon and recently sort of apologizing for levying a suspension of just two games on Ray Rice, who was caught on video dragging his unconscious significant other around by the hair, maybe nine sounded good because it was a smidge harsher than what people were expecting.
With that, the Ravens beat the 49ers yet again. Baltimore won the first Harbaugh Bowl on Thanksgiving a few years back, they handed the 49ers their first Super Bowl defeat, they even won that recent preseason game. Hell, they probably won all those joint practices afterward. And because the target of Rice’s abuse didn’t press charges — which kept Rice out of legal trouble, and in Goodell’s good graces — Baltimore had their star player get a suspension that was only 22% what Smith received.
All that aside, Smith has no one to blame but himself. He was caught for driving under the influence for the second time, he got dinged for firearms violations in large part because he threw an out-of-control party which required police intervention, and most importantly he could’ve easily killed someone. And based on today’s news, one can probably assume that he didn’t exactly ace that recent meeting with Goodell.
The suspension’s length is weird, but there’s nothing weird about repeat offenders receiving harsh consequences. Now it’s up to Corey Lemonier, Dan Skuta and perhaps even Aaron Lynch to pick up the slack for one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, who also happens to be a very troubled person.