Thursday, August 6, 2009

Browns move on without Stallworth

The Browns do not seem particularly moved by Donte Stallworth's apology to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for killing a pedestrian in Miami Beach while driving drunk in March. Their attitude, and it is the correct one, is "It's a league matter."

Stallworth was suspended indefinitely by Goodell after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter for killing 59-year-old Mario Reyes. He ended up spending only 24 days in jail.

Stallworth met with Goodell on Tuesday seeking reinstatement and then issued another apology in a letter today. Goodell has yet to rule on Stallworth's request. When he announced the suspension, Goodell said what Stallworth did was "inexcusable," even though Reyes was partially at fault for not being in the crosswalk.

"I recognize that there is a difference between the legal standard in my criminal case and the standard to which NFL players are held," Stallworth's letter read. "It is clear that I exercised poor judgment and caused irreparable harm to Mario Reyes, his family, the NFL, its owners, coaches, employees and to my fellow players. Going forward, I am committed to conducting myself in a manner that more accurately reflects who I am and meets the high standard expected of all NFL players. I tried to convey this commitment to Commissioner Goodell yesterday."

When Stallworth was sent to jail I wrote the Browns should take him back, because although what he did was horrible, he is not a horrible person. I still believe that, but now is not the time. If Goodell were to allow Stallworth to attend training camp while under suspension and then banish him when the regular season starts it would be counter-productive for Stallworth to practice.

The preseason begins a week from Saturday. Stallworth would just be taking up space and taking practice time from a receiver who will play. He would be a distraction the Browns do not need.


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