The NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy gives a player the benefit of the doubt when he finds himself in one wrong-place/wrong-time situation. The policy isn’t as forgiving when it happens two or more times.
With 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith now involved in a second incident that falls under the Personal Conduct Policy, he could be disciplined before either or both situations are resolved in court.
“With respect to repeat offenders, the Commissioner may impose discipline on an enhanced and/or expedited basis,” the league’s Personal Conduct Policy states. “In such cases, the timing and nature of the discipline will be determined by the Commissioner based on several factors including, but not limited to: the severity of the initial charge and the later charge, the facts underlying the later charge; the length of time between the initial offense and later charge; and the player or employee’s compliance with counseling and other programs.”
Last year, Smith was charged with multiple felony counts arising from the alleged possession of illegal weapons. He now faces an eventual felony charge arising from the allegation that he made a false claim of having a bomb while in an airport security line.
With a pair of pending felony incidents, that could be enough to prompt the NFL to move against Smith sooner rather than later.
Multiple players have been suspended by the NFL while charges were still pending. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended six games (reduced to four) without ever being even arrested or charged.
Smith’s multiple alcohol-related arrests fall under the substance-abuse policy. The NFL could be influenced by those incidents when deciding whether to discipline Smith before either of the two non-alcohol charges has been resolved.