BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
When I was at Super Bowl 43 in Tampa and covered NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's State Of The League Address, it didn't take long after speaking & shaking his hand after the press conference that he's as shrewd as they come.
Allstate says drivers are in good hands and have used this marketing slogan to perfection. The NFL is in good hands with Goodell.
Thursday's ruling to suspend Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth for one year under the league's personal conduct policy appears to be the right decision for a man that plea bargained his way into getting just a 24 day jail sentence for DUI manslaughter that ended the life of Mario Reyes on March 14 in Miami with a blood-alcohol level of .126, above Florida's .08 legal limit.
If Reyes, a 59-year old construction crane operator had been killed by somebody else other than a professional athlete, the legal penalties would have been far more severe than they were in this case.
Unfortunately, the problem with today's athletes is they can buy there way out of trouble.
Even though Goodell has made the right decision on Stallworth, I personally believe that Stallworth should have been suspended for at least two years or even banished by the league permanently.
Stallworth, 28, killed another person and that's all there is to it! Goodell saw things this way and that's why he came down hard on Stallworth. Whether Stallworth ever plays in the NFL remains to be seen. Yes, he'll pay a huge price in the wallet for missing this season and like former Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick, his reputation is shot.
Vick is having a hard time finding work. But to Vick's credit, he served his jail time for dog fighting. What Vick did was wrong and having been a dog owner, killing animals is disgusting.
But Vick did pay the price financially and with his reputation.
One thing Vick does have going for him is Tony Dungy is mentoring him. I do believe that Vick does deserve a second chance and his work with animal groups including the Humane Society is a step in the right direction. Dungy will help him get back in the NFL.
As for Stallworth, he's a different story. I doubt that Dungy would mentor him. He killed a human being! Period!
Even though Goodell says the legal system's shorter sentence played no part in his decision and he punished Stallworth based on killing another human being, deep down inside, I do believe that the commissioner created his own justice. I feel the legal shorter sentence played a part in his tougher decision.
If there is something positive that should come out of Goodell's hammer, all players better beware that this sheriff is "Walking Tall" and isn't afraid to use his sledge hammer. Full 16-game season's will be lost.
I've always detested alcohol and Stallworth just reinforced why I can't stand this liquid killer.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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