Donte’ Stallworth killed a man. Read that sentence again. Now, think about that for a moment. He killed a man.
His punishment for that crime was 24-days in jail. 24.
Savor that for a minute and then think about how you might feel if the person that Donte’ killed was your mother. Daughter. Sister. Brother. Aunt. Grandmother. Friend.
Would 24-days be enough?
It wouldn’t be for me, that much I know for a fact, there would never be enough for me.
However, there would certainly need to be something more substantial than 24-days. That much is for sure.
So, today, Roger Goodell decided to exact his own measure of discipline as dictated by his position as commissioner of the NFL.
His verdict: one year, no pay.
Is that fair? Absolutely.
Here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter that the man was jaywalking and, possibly, would have been hit anyway. What matters is that Donte’ was too drunk to pay attention to both sides of the street he was driving on.
Had he not been drunk, it is possible he might have seen Mario Reyes (the victim). It is possible he could have stopped short of hitting him. It is possible he could have missed him altogether and been at camp practicing instead of at home waiting.
Donte’ gets no sympathy. Zero. His stupidity and carelessness led to the death of an innocent man. Period.
Some can say, well, if the legal system didn’t see fit to punish him harshly, what right does the commish have to do so?
I can see your argument but it’s a shallow one. That’s like saying: If he can do it, why can’t I? It’s a ridiculous argument for a serious situation.
Others point out that the family settled and didn’t choose to pursue the matter any further. Shouldn’t that be proof enough that this is no longer a matter worthy of more punishment?
Ummm, no, please tell me how much the life of your loved one is worth. Can you put a price on it?
Is it not just as likely that the Reyes family lost their breadwinner and needed the money so they could continue to live?
Perhaps the fee to bury their loved one was necessary. Or, maybe, they had to pay off debts in a hurry…maybe the money was a necessity. Nothing more.
I have no doubt that Goodell has his detractors, shoot, I am one of them. I do think he has a heavy hand at times and can be a bit over the top with his “tough on crime” antics.
That said, however, if the players would stop doing idiotic things, there would be no need for him to keep extending his powers beyond the realm of what many feel is necessary.
Who told Plaxico to carry his gun into a club? Who told Adam Jones to keep involving himself with riff-raff? Who asked Donte’ to step behind the wheel and drive his car while drunk? Last I checked, the commissioner isn’t a body-snatcher. He can’t perform the athlete’s actions for him.
Stupidity, after all, is a personal problem.
The bottom line is this. Donte’ got what he deserved from the NFL. It’s a pity he didn’t get that and more from the “justice” system.
And, after a year, Donte’ can return to his mediocre playing ways. Mario Reyes, on the other hand, won’t be as lucky.