Aldon Smith, a rookie linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, was charged late last week with driving under the influence of alcohol, according to a report from the New York Daily News.
The arrest occurred in Miami Beach, a favorite hangout of professional athletes and people who like to encounter professional athletes.
Jail records obtained from Miami-Dade County authorities show that Smith was booked on Saturday night for drunk driving and that he was being held on a $1,000 bond.
A spokesperson for Miami-Dade County Corrections told reporters that Smith had indeed been arrested by Miami Beach police, but did not offer any specifics as to the nature of the arrest.
In a statement released just hours after the arrest, the San Francisco 49ers acknowledge that they were aware of the arrest, but, perhaps not surprisingly, refused to comment on the matter.
According to the team’s statement, the organization “takes these issues very seriously, but will reserve further comment at this time, as it is an ongoing legal matter.” The team did claim, though, that it would “continue to gather the facts and monitor the developments closely.”
The arrest comes as a black eye for both Aldon Smith and the 49ers, which lost in heartbreaking fashion last week to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game.
Before their loss, however, the 49ers had experienced a wildly successful season, as new coach Jim Harbaugh oversaw a dramatic change in fortune for the previously moribund franchise.
A major part of the team’s success was its league-leading defense, which was bolstered by the sterling play of Smith, who had 14 sacks from his defensive end position in 2011. The 14 sacks ranked first in the NFL among rookies.
Smith, who was drafted in the first round as the seventh overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, entered the league with high expectations, and certainly fulfilled them during his first year by setting the franchise record for sacks by a rookie.
The recent arrest, however, has ended Smith’s honeymoon phase with the franchise. If he is indeed convicted on the DUI charges, Smith could also receive some form of punishment from the team.
While the law typically gives first-time drunk drivers some jail time, heavy fines, or a suspension of their license, professional athletes often face fines or suspensions from their teams, as well.
In some circumstances, professional league offices also step in to mete out some punishment, although it remains to be seen if Smith will draw the ire of the NFL commissioner’s office.