Ever since Jim Harbaugh has taken over as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, the team has preached two things: blue collar work ethic, and good character. But with a couple of 49ers’ players having legal problems lately, are those two things just a farce?
Since Harbaugh has become the coach, the 49ers have had nine run-ins with the law (granted, Aldon Smith has four of them). The 49ers had the same number of run-ins with the law from 2001-10. So why the recent spike in arrests/charges?
Like I mentioned before, almost half of the recent arrests and charges are from Aldon Smith. Smith has his own demons, and you cannot blame the entire team for his mistakes. The rest are single incidents by different players over the course of three years.
Each NFL team has their problems. They are filled with grown men who make their own decisions. To suggest that one organization has a character problem because of a few players that made bad choices is absurd.
From 2011-13 the NFL experienced 152 arrests. In that time frame, the 49ers accounted for just six of those. That is just 4 percent.
Are the recent arrests still alarming? Of course they are. The 49ers and every other team in the NFL would prefer to have no arrests, but the fact is, when you have as many players as the NFL has, there are going to be run-ins with the law. The 49ers are no exception to this rule.
Many players who have played under Harbaugh have lauded him and the culture he brings into the locker room. When the bullying scandal in Miami first broke, San Francisco was one of the few places that were suggested for Jonathan Martin to head to. And sure enough, he is now on the team.
While the media and other fans focus on the negative aspects of the NFL including the 49ers, just remember for every negative story you hear, there are multiple positive ones that you don’t hear because they just aren’t exciting stories.