clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Accountability and Sports Stars

In thinking about the whole Aldon Smith thing going on right now, I was wondering what sort of legal ramifications might come about from such a large party with such obvious violence and drug problems. By no means am I knowledgeable about law or its application therein, but it sure seems shady.

What this really got me thinking about, though, was not the whole party incident, but the Saints' bounty system. Now, much has been written concerning the bounty system, and I am not going to be breaking any new ground here - but, I would like to pose one question: why, in all of this bounty drama, have law enforcers been largely absent from the proceedings?

Do they not deem this worthy of investigation? Are sports celebrities just that far out of control that nobody even bothers? I mean, if you went to your normal office for work and hurt somebody for money, then there would obviously be problems.

This article does a good job at answering some of my questions. The author points out that resources ought not to be diverted from the prosecution of more serious violent crimes. I get that point. What I don't get is the whole "well, violence is part of the game" stuff.

Football is a violent game, I agree. But, it has always been structured in ways to regulate and control the inherent violence so that the sport is promoted, not the blood lust. Secret bounty systems, by definition, defy regulation. Because the point is to hurt another individual, the action has escaped the bounds of properly tackling another person and moved into assault.

As such, if there is evidence that a man was paid for one specific hit that he levied against another person, should he not be charged with assault? Maybe the jury finds him innocent, which is totally fine. That's how the justice system works. But, the act of charging the man with assault sends a message to the players: Football is about structured and regulated tackles, not assault.

I'm not saying that I hope Aldon Smith is taken to court or anything. It's still way too early to know what was really going on at his house. Nor am I comfortable playing armchair juror. I just think we need to do a better job of holding sports celebrities accountable for their actions. If the culture changed, then perhaps Aldon doesn't host such a crazy party in the first place. This may be a crazy fantasy. Aldon may simply act however he pleases. But, there is really only one way to find out, and holding sports stars more accountable sees like a pretty darn good way to start.