Cannabis Stunt Turns NFL’s Aldon Smith Into Master of the Self-Sabotage VideoBruce BarcottJuly 25, 2016
Aldon Smith, former San Francisco 49ers star, current Oakland Raiders linebacker, and career knucklehead, woke to find himself the talk of the sports world this morning. As usual, it’s for all the wrong reasons. A video archived in a Periscope account that Smith has reportedly used many times shows someone — a face is never revealed — holding a lit blunt and talking about a “fire-up session.”
The video itself would be kind of funny if it weren’t so stupid. In the one-minute clip, which looks like it was filmed after hours in a nail salon, a woman can be heard telling the blunt-holding man “you shouldn’t even be posting that.”
The man protests: “They don’t have my name,” he says. “This is just a fire-up session.”
It goes on from there:
Her: So, if you just put it on there… it’s just doing it? It’s live? That’s hella stupid.
Him: Shut up. You hella stupid. You trying to smoke, fam? Is this the ashtray?
Her: Yeah. You ain’t using it no more, right?
Him: I’m using it.
Her: Oh, that’s a (expletive)? Oh, a (inaudible)?
Him: You’re stupid. You’re tripping. (expletive), they don’t know it’s me. It’s not like I put “Aldon Smith”…
The clip cuts off there.
Screenshot of "Fire up session" video. Via Periscope
The stupidity on display here is bedazzling. Smith is currently serving a yearlong suspension received last November for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. (The suspension was related to alcohol and a string of DUIs.) He’s scheduled to apply for reinstatement in September. So the act of filming himself seshing out — while a friend actively warns him not to — becomes an act of self-sabotage so bizarre it merits its own psychological classification in the next edition of the DSM.
Aldon Smith’s career may be over. But the damage he’s done goes beyond his own sad narrative. Over the past few months, a number of NFL players, led by (now retired) Baltimore Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe, have elevated the conversation around medical marijuana and player health. Earlier this year Monroe boldly and courageously spoke out in favor of medical cannabis research and donated $80,000 to the cause. He elevated the conversation and forced the league to take the issue seriously. Two weeks ago former Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson addressed the league’s habit of feeding dangerous and addictive opioids to its players; Johnson said the drugs were handed out “like candy.” The talk was of responsible research and medication. And now Smith has pitched it back to fire-up sessions.
Firing up has its place and time — in the homes of the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, it’s as legal as drinking a glass of Chardonnay — but Smith’s act of stupidity takes the NFL a half-step back, reinforcing a stereotype that Monroe and others have worked so hard to break.