Sean Smith made what might easily be the biggest mistake of his life on Monday morning. The young Kansas City Chiefs cornerback drank, then drove, then crashed after a night on the town.
Smith deserves to be criticized and hammered by both the press and public. He has earned angry letters from disappointed fans and enraged parents who have lost loved ones thanks to careless souls who decided one drink too many was one for the road.
Still, he deserves another chance.
So many people love to pile on rich athletes for making poor decisions in spite of having so much money. Those folks forget that a fat bank account does not make these young men immune to life and the pitfalls that come with it.
Smith has never been convicted of any other crime that we are aware of. The 26-year-old is not a habitual law-breaker or a menace to society. For all appearances, Smith seems to be a good kid who made a dumb, avoidable mistake. His biggest crime was not putting himself in danger, but instead endangering the innocent lives of those around him. He surely knows this now.
We all make mistakes in this life. Most of us have the fortune of being completely anonymous outside of our family and friends, never to be judged by harsh eyes of those we have never met.
Think about the worst moment in your life. Maybe it was cheating on your wife and having to look your kids in the eyes the following day. Maybe it was stealing from a friend or getting heavily involved in drugs. Perhaps it was striking a woman in a moment of rage or bullying that kid back in freshman year of high school.
Maybe, it was drinking a little too much and getting behind the wheel, thinking you were sober enough to navigate the road home.
Smith does not deserve to be cut by the. A suspension or fine is within the boundaries of acceptable punishment, regardless of the team or league imposing it. Smith needs guidance and support, not a cold shoulder and a moving truck.
Ultimately, this was a tragedy averted. Nobody was injured or killed despite the opportunity for both realities to occur. Smith has an experience he will never forget, hopefully one that will inspire him to become a more mature man with a better head on his shoulders. If he uses this regrettable event as a platform for change it might become a positive for others.
Smith made a horrible mistake on Monday, one that will follow him for some time. Be mad at him, be disappointed in him, but support him in the hope that he walked out of his crumpled car a wiser human being.