Stallworth Suspended for 2009 Season
Not exactly surprising:
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth has been suspended without pay for the 2009 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy and its substance abuse policy, the league said Thursday.
Stallworth, 28, who pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter in Florida in connection with the March 14 crash in which he struck and killed construction worker Mario Reyes, will be reinstated after the Super Bowl in February 2010, the league said.
In a letter to Stallworth made public Thursday, commissioner Roger Goodell said, “I believe that further consequences are necessary” in addition to the punishment handed down by the legal system.
If you’re familiar with the reputation of commissioner Goodell, and if you can appreciate the seriousness of drunk-driving, the decision handed down by the NFL today should come as no shock. Honestly, I’m no fan of Goodell. He’s a little too eager to hand down stiff punishment for mistakes that players in his league make. I think in most cases, the American justice system does a more than adequate, if not overboard, job of punishing players for crimes committed. Having someone serve time in prison and then taking away their livelihood is unfair. This Stallworth episode might be the exception to the rule, though.
When I heard that Stallworth was suspended for the year, I couldn’t help but feel as though Goodell got it right this time. What he did was incredibly irresponsible and downright stupid. He got into a car under the influence of alcohol and in the end someone died. It really doesn’t get any worse than that. Unlike Michael Vick, he got a ridiculously lenient sentence, serving only 24 out of 30 days in prison. I think Goodell did the right thing by making sure he faced slightly steeper consequences for his reckless actions.
To be fair, Stallworth does seem as sincere as they get. He made a mistake, one that he truly regrets. However, because someone was killed due to his lapse in judgment, there should be consequences. Sitting out for a year seems sensible to me. Hopefully he rebounds strong in 2010 and finds his way back into the NFL.
What do you think?