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06-19-09, 11:58 PM #1
Commissioner Roger Goodell lays down some NFL street justice on Donte Stallworth
Roger Goodell has never been known to take a soft stance on violent and/or irresponsible behavior from an NFL player. It stood to reason, then, that after Donte' Stallworth received just 30 days in prison from America's wonderful legal system, that the commish might have a harsher punishment in mind.
That was confirmed this afternoon when Stallworth was suspended indefinitely by Goodell and the NFL, according to a letter sent to Stallworth and a statement released by the commissioner's office.
The conduct reflected in your guilty plea resulted in the tragic loss of life and was inexcusable. While the criminal justice system has determined the legal consequences of this incident, it is my responsibility as NFL Commissioner to determine appropriate league discipline for your actions, which have caused irreparable harm to the victim and his family, your club, your fellow players and the NFL."
Goodell continued chastising Stallworth, pointing out that his behavior -- specifically an offseason incident that led to a DUI manslaughter charge -- violated both the NFL's Substance Abuse and Personal Conduct Policy, either of which would be sufficient to suspend the wide receiver.
Goodell also cited the standard "benefits beget responsibilites" clause that many of our nation's athletes so easily seem to forget; with making millions comes having to answer to society when you do something stupid, etc.
Additionally, he alerted Stallworth that "[the NFL] will contact your representatives to schedule a meeting with you, after which I will make a final determination on discipline." That final determination, of course, will decide Stallworth's future in the NFL. And if Goodell's brief history as commissioner of the NFL tells us anything, it's not too bright.
Stallworth's base contract for 2009 calls for him to earn $745,000 with a $23,000 bonus for each game he's on the active roster -- he would not receive any of that money if Goodell extends his suspension into the season. The Browns have, thus far, opted not to try and recoup a $4.5 million roster bonus that Stallworth got on March 13, ironically the day before his accident.
Cutting Stallworth would force Cleveland to take a $7.6 million salary-cap hit. Keeping him on the roster through his suspension would have no effect on the Browns' 2009 cap.
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