Not that this is much of a shock, but you could see this one coming from a mile away. The NFL announced today that Browns WR Donte’ Stallworth has been suspended for the YEAR without pay by the league after he plead guilty to killing a pedestrian while driving drunk. He cannot participate in any team activities until his reinstatement after the Super Bowl.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Stallworth placed a “stain” on the reputation of the league and all its players. Stallworth struck 59-year-old Mario Reyes back on March 14th in the early morning hours in Miami. He pleaded guilty June 16th to DUI manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and was suspended indefinitely by Goodell two days later.
Stallworth drew a 30-day jail sentence and reached an undisclosed financial settlement with the family of Reyes, who was leaving his crane operator job when he was struck. In a letter to Stallworth released by the NFL, Goodell said he didn’t take into account the sentence in determining the 28-year-old player violated the league’s substances of abuse and personal conduct policies.
“Your conduct endangered yourself and others, leading to the death of an innocent man,” Goodell wrote. “The NFL and NFL players must live with the stain that you have placed on their reputations.”
Goodell held a hearing with Stallworth, his representatives and union officials August 5th. He also met privately with Stallworth on Monday at the player’s request. Police said Stallworth had spent the night drinking at a Miami Beach club and had a blood-alcohol level of .126, above Florida’s .08 legal limit. Besides jail time, his sentence included two years of house arrest, eight years of probation and other restrictions.
This is not really any sort of a surprise, as Stallworth wasn’t expected to have any sort of impact on the Browns this year, and the team was already looking at options of releasing him and seeing how much it would count against them in terms of the salary cap.