Stallworth Ban: One Year, No Pay
The NFL rendered its final verdict in the Donte' Stallworth case Thursday.
Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended the Cleveland Browns wide receiver without pay for the season for violating the league's policies on personal conduct and substance abuse.
Stallworth pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter June 16 after he hit and killed Mario Reyes, 59, with his Bentley on a Miami causeway early on the morning of March 14.
In a letter to Stallworth, Goodell wrote, "The NFL and NFL players must live with the stain that you have placed on their reputations."
Stallworth served 24 days in jail as part of his plea agreement.
"Regardless of the length of my suspension, I will carry the burden of Mr. Reyes' death for the rest of my life," Stallworth said in a statement. "I urge NFL fans not to judge NFL players or me based on my tragic lapse in judgment."
Since becoming commissioner in 2006, Goodell has taken a hard line disciplining players who run afoul of the law and tarnish the NFL shield.
But some think his iron fist can be a bit heavy. Stallworth's lawyer, David Cornwell, was hoping his client's suspension would be "substantially less."
"I think he believes that he's doing the right thing," Cornwell said of Goodell, "but I very respectfully disagree."
With a potentially contentious collective bargaining negotiation on the horizon, the NFL Players Association wasn't commenting. "We don't have a comment on the suspension at this time," NFLPA director of communications Carl Francis said.
Stallworth, who will be reinstated after the Super Bowl in February, does not plan to fight the ruling. "For institutional reasons, they (the NFLPA) may have reasons to pursue an appeal," Cornwell said. "But for personal reasons, Donte' is not supportive of that."