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August 13, 2009

NFL Commissioner "sentences" Donte Stallworth to a year without pay

As detailed in this New York Times article, Donte Stallworth has now been "sentenced" again for killing a pedestrian while driving drunk.  Here are the basics:

The National Football League’s summer of malefactors took another turn Thursday, when Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth for the entire 2009 season without pay.  Stallworth, a member of the Cleveland Browns, will be reinstated after the 2010 Super Bowl.

Last March, Stallworth, while driving drunk, struck and killed a pedestrian near Miami Beach, the morning after he had received a $4.5 million roster bonus from the Browns.  He pleaded guilty to D.U.I. manslaughter, a felony, and spent less than a month in prison, a relatively light sentence given in part because of claims of contributory negligence by the pedestrian, who was not in a crosswalk when he was struck.

But after suspending Stallworth indefinitely and then meeting with him twice this month, Goodell took a harder line — he noted in his letter to Stallworth that he believed “further consequences are necessary.”

Stallworth was suspended under the league’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies, which offer the commissioner wide latitude in dealing with players who commit crimes involving alcohol.  Stallworth is not allowed to participate in any team activities during the suspension.

“You are clearly guilty of conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the N.F.L.,” Goodell wrote in a letter to Stallworth.  “Legal arguments that focus on criminal liability under Florida law do not diminish that damage or your responsibility for your conduct.”  The letter concluded: “Your conduct endangered yourself and others, leading to the death of an innocent man.  The NFL and NFL players must live with the stain that you have placed on their reputations.”

UPDATE:  And in other NFL felon news, as reported here, Michael Vick has now signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.  So while Stallworth now has no fantasy football value in 2009, Vick is now back on the board.  (And, of course, Plaxico Burress's status still remains uncertain, though I would not expect to see him on the football field for quite some time.)

August 13, 2009 at 04:45 PM | Permalink

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Comments

He should be in the slammer for like 20 yrs.

Posted by: My NFL Forums | Aug 19, 2009 4:42:42 PM

I don't appreciate letting a dog killer back into the game. What kind of example are we setting for our youth. You are not performing very well as commissioner

Posted by: Bennett Downey | Aug 27, 2009 1:35:39 PM

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