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How Does Dobbs' Arrest Affect How We Evaluate Players?

Some musings on Demarcus Dobbs and Aldon Smith

Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

So, I’m a huge hypocrite. I’ll be really upfront about it. I mean, let’s be honest, we all are. Because, you know, human beings. If you are human beings, then you are a hypocrite. But specifically, I am a hypocrite when it comes to evaluating player behavior.

I’m sure everybody at this point has seen / heard / read the news: Demarcus Dobbs was arrested early Friday morning after a car crash. It is suspected that he was driving under the influence. Dobbs was also in possession of marijuana. Fortunately, nobody else was hurt.

I bring this up because it is somewhat analogous to earlier events involving Aldon Smith. Both are young players, perhaps more prone to a more active night life as a result. Both play (kind of) similar positions. The big difference though is, obviously, talent level and on-field production. Maybe this is a bit unfair to Dobbs. The guy is a special teams ace and a boon to the team. But, come on. Smith is having a potentially historic season. This last year and a half has been superb. His on-field production has been huge.

So, when I get a text from ESPN while on campus that succinctly lays out the bare minimum of facts in regards to the Dobbs situation, my first reaction is something akin to “come on, man! You’re hurting the team.” I was a bit indignant. Perhaps unfairly so. Especially when you take my reaction to Aldon’s previous problems into consideration. When it comes to Aldon, I was all about finding the facts first. I wanted to use any excuse I could rationalize to get Aldon out of trouble.

And, I’ll be honest, it all had to do with my opinion of them as a player. That’s not right. So, even though the circumstances seem pretty clear cut, let’s give Dobbs a chance. We need to see how this plays out before crucifying him on the cross of public opinion. As such, this is a call for consistency. I don’t care how you evaluate players. Maybe you are the strict type, who evaluates players by more draconian moral judgments; maybe you are the loosey goosey type, judging players with your hippie values. I don’t know. I probably shade more toward the former, but I think it’s important that we strive for moral consistency, regardless of the player’s on-field production. Some issues are just bigger than sports.