On Thursday, Michigan football player Mazi Smith appeared in court to face the consequences of carrying a concealed weapon without a license. Despite the gravity of the situation, Smith owned up to his mistake and pledged to turn it into a valuable learning experience.
“I’ve had an opportunity to learn,” said Mazi Smith. “I learned immediately in the back of a police car, but I had an opportunity to turn this into a lesson quickly.”
Chandra Fleming/Detroit Free Press
The arrest occurred on October 7th, when Smith was pulled over for speeding in Ann Arbor and cited for carrying a concealed weapon without a license. Mazi Smith said that he had the proper paperwork completed, but it was not filed with the state. Last month, as part of a plea deal, he agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge instead of the originally charged felony.
Michigan Leaders Believe Suspension was not Necessary
Despite the difficult situation, University leadership believe that a suspension from the team was not necessary for the senior co-captain. This includes Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, Athletic Director Warde Manuel, and University President Santa Ono. Instead, he started all 14 games this past season. Smith finished with 48 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and half a sack. This led to a first-team All-Big Ten selection as a defensive lineman.
John Shea, Smith’s attorney, originally requested Judge Valvo to reduce the 12-month probation to six months. Judge Valvo rejected the request. Instead, she offered Smith the opportunity to request an early discharge after six months of successful probation, with the understanding that he must complete all of the conditions set by the court.
Mazi Smith, left, with his attorney John Shea. Captured from Washtenaw County 14A-1 District Court’s live feed.
Conditions of Probation
One of these conditions is that Mazi Smith must avoid illegal drugs, alcohol, and marijuana. He also must not be around anyone who is consuming them. He will also be subject to random drug testing and must complete 40 hours of community service by April 1. Additionally, Smith must retake his concealed pistol license (CPL) training. He must also pay $600 in fines and costs, as well as $360 in probation oversight fees. He also cannot engage in any threatening or assaultive behavior towards anyone.
The judge granted Smith’s attorney’s request. This allows Smith to travel across states for court appearances as long as his probation officer approved it. This is particularly important for Smith, as ESPN reported on Tuesday that he plans to enter the 2023 NFL draft.
Photo credit to umgoblue.com
Mazi Smith Training for NFL
It’s clear that Smith has learned from his mistakes and is taking steps to move forward in a positive direction. Smith, determined to make the most of his second chance and turn his experience into a valuable learning opportunity, is supported by his team and has the opportunity to potentially pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.
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