The linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers was arrested for joking about having a bomb at an airport screening station.
There is something completely mindboggling about a man who – in an era of intense security in travel – would become belligerent at an airport screening station and tell authorities in jest that he was carrying a bomb. Who does that?
But that is precisely what San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith did on Sunday at the Los Angeles International Airport. In the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks and in a country where the Transportation Security Agency is widely seen as nothing to play with, somehow, Smith decided to do just that.
Perhaps Smith has found a way to emerge from so many troubling incidents with the law that he may well have thought he could avoid any significant consequences this time, too.
Two years ago, he was arrested for DUI in Miami Beach. Last September, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI and possession of marijuana. Soon thereafter, he voluntarily entered a rehab program. During that time, he was put on a non-football injury roster and was allowed to have a leave of absence.
Within a month, Smith was facing another skirmish with the law, which included three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon in connection to a stabbing incident.
The FBI makes it clear that folks who make bomb threats at an airport face the possibility of federal charges. That’s one thing Smith doesn’t need, given the fact that, with Sunday’s arrest, he is now involved in three pending criminal cases.
Smith has a solid background. The son of Thurston Smith and Kimberly Smith, he was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City. At the University of Missouri, he began to attract intensified attention, which later resulted in his joining the ranks of the National Football League – the well-paid ranks. His talent is not in question, only his judgment.
And so, that leads us to the inevitable question: Why does this highly talented athlete place himself in so many challenging and, frankly, ridiculous circumstances? Given the number of young African-Americans who are detained and arrested for doing nothing whatsoever, it’s more than disheartening to see this 24-year-old player dealing with the consequences of a lack of, well, common sense. Moreover, it will be interesting to see what action is taken by the 49ers.
It is important for people to understand, in a meaningful way, that actions have consequences, no matter how celebrated the person is. Perhaps the incident at the Los Angeles International Airport will finally wake him up. At least, we can hope so.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
Follow Jonathan Hicks on Twitter: @HicksJonathan
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(Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)