Earlier today Roger Goodell indefinitely suspended Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth. This came on the heels of Stallworth's sentence in Miami courts on Tuesday.
The Justice system of the United States of America deemed Stallworth's malfeasance was worth 30 days in prison, 2 years of house arrest, 8 years of probation, and a lifetime suspension of his driver's license. Additionally Stallworth paid an undisclosed settlment to the family of Mario Reyes.
Roger Goodell has continued with his damn near zero tolerence policy for NFLers running afoul of the law.
The question has to be whether Goodell actions are overzealous.
I'll probably reserve my own judgment for when the modifier "indefinite" is lifted off of the suspension and something more concrete is handed down.
One thing is clear: the talking heads on ESPN are dishearteningly clueless. Len Pasquarelli just dropped a piece lauding Goodell's actions as "the right thing to do" and the right thing according to the "conscionce" of anybody. Pasquarelli further classified Stallworth as "running down" Mario Reyes. He went on to proclaim that "somebody must pay" for Reyes' death. Earlier today Chris Mortensen proclaimed that Stallworth's suspension from the football field should at least mirror Stallworth's house arrest.
First off, drunken driving is wrong and I personally think that the current state of prosecuting drunk driving offenses is, well, offensive. Repeat offenders for drunk driving are prevelant on our streets. Cars are the only weapon that every American is allowed to wield on a daily basis.
My own predilections on criminal prosecution aside, I have a couple thoughts. First off, Reyes was not run down. Reyes was in the middle of a divided highway. He was not in a crosswalk, he was not on a lightly traveled sidestreet. He was in the middle of a road similar to Colfax Avenue (for our CO contingent), Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Lake Shore Drive (especially once you get north of Wrigley Field). That's why I take so much offense to Pasquarelli classifing Reyes as being run down.
Somebody has to pay for death? Len it may be an ancillary note, but if Stallworth was not drinking he receives no sentence. Reyes was not only contributorily negligent, he was also criminally culpable (jaywalking). Again, I don't try to exonerate Stallworth, but people cannot throw themselves into harm's way free of consequence. I feel some remorse in making that comment since Reyes is dead, but that's how the law looks at it.
Furthermore I take offense to classifying Stallworth's legal sentence as light or a joke as it has been referred to today. Look, he faced a maximum of 15 years in prison if he was a repeat offender, did not cooperate with the police and performed the criminal act with some sort of criminal intent. Stallworth is a first time offender. He cooperated with the investigation, hell he called the cops!! All of that goes without mentioning the discussion of Reyes' contribution to his own injury.
All this goes to say that Goodell and Pasquarelli are annoying examples of moral grandstanding. At this point their stance is little more than piling on. I'm not trying to defend Stallworth; cat should be in jail. I just don't like that Goodell is above the law and that guys like Pasquarelli have free license to write like a complete jackass.
For an interesting take on the situation, check out Jeffri Chadiha's slightly more enlightened take on Stallworth and Goodell.
And for those of you that know I'm a Browns fan, my Browns fanaticism has nothing to do with this take. If anything else it makes me want a harsher punishment for Stallworth. His contract is awful and his underacheiving stupdity on the football field last year was nearly vomit inducing.
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