STAFF EDITORIAL: Fair play should extend off the field for athletes
On June 16, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth was sentenced to 30 days in jail as part of a plea agreement stemming from his DUI manslaughter charge.
30 days, not 30 months.
In the wake of players facing years in prison for dog-fighting operations and shooting themselves in the leg, it’s ludicrous to see someone receive a month in jail – of which he may only serve 24 days – for taking the life of a human being.
Had he been any ‘regular’ civilian and run down a pedestrian at 8 a.m. after a night of drinking, there would be no public outcry needed; the courts would throw the proverbial book at him.
The sentence includes a lifetime driver’s license suspension, 1,000 hours of community service, two years of house arrest and eight years probation. Some argue its leniency reflects mitigating circumstances such as the victim, Mario Reyes, was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, thus removing some of the responsibility from Stallworth.
Then again, police said Stallworth was driving 50 miles per hour in a zone limited to 40 mph with a blood alcohol level of’ 0.126, well over the legal limit of 0.08.
Stallworth has been a part of the NFL’s substance abuse program in the past. This was more than an accident waiting to happen.
One thing no one can deny is that drinking will impair judgment and reaction time. Stallworth should be punished for both for deciding to get behind the wheel and for killing a man. Every day citizens recieve harsher sentences for simply driving drunk because there is such a great potential to harm those around them.
His sentence should be the ultimate deterrent for anyone thinking of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Now it just serves as a reminder that those who have money and status can risk deadly behavior, as they can avoid the long arm of the law.