The 49ers allowed outside linebacker Aldon Smith to play on Sunday because they believed it to be in his best interest.
That was the explanation offered by 49ers CEO Jed York after the Niners’ 27-7 loss to the Colts on Sunday.
Peter King of the MMQB.com reported Sunday that Smith would seek treatment at an in-patient facility this week. Smith was arrested Friday morning on a DUI charge.
According to a transcript of his remarks from the club, York said that “there’s no right answer” with regard to how the club made the call on whether to play Smith or not. According to York, GM Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh “handled” the decision and consulted with him.
“We thought it was the best decision for Aldon and for him in the future and for him to make progress and get better,” York said when asked by a reporter whether Smith played with an eye on giving the club the best chance at winning.
York also said that the club believed letting Smith play instead of deactivating him or punishing him some other way on Sunday wasn’t the proper call.
“Our opinion was, sitting somebody down and paying them to sit down when they’re going to seek treatment in the future, that didn’t seem like an appropriate punishment,” York said. “I know it might not sound reasonable, but for Aldon to be able to face the media, face his teammates, and take full responsibility for what he’s doing, we felt that was the best situation for Aldon himself, and for the team, and ultimately the community at large. And I realize people might not agree with that decision, but that was the decision that we felt was best.”
York said the organization wants to help Smith.
“We support Aldon if Aldon is willing to fight for himself and try to make this right and I will stand here and I will support him and I’ll take any shots that anybody wants to direct at the organization, you can direct them to me,” York said. “And I will support Aldon as long as he’s willing to work at this and fight to get better.”