This week in high-profile journo-personnel action: Bloomberg News hires Slate’s Dave Weigel. Michael Bloomberg reasserts plenary control of Bloomberg LP following three terms as mayor of New York. And the Huffington Post hires Donte Stallworth as a fellow to cover national security.
What was that last one again?
“Donte has a quick mind, an insatiable curiosity and a passion for politics — the necessary qualities of a great journalist,” said Ryan Grim, the Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief, in a prepared statement on the hire. That scouting report will doubtless please Stallworth, who is transitioning from a decade-long NFL career that included stints with the New Orleans Saints, the Philadelphia Eagles, the New England Patriots and Washington’s own professional football squad. He recently did a coaching internship with the Baltimore Ravens.
When NFL veterans finish their playing careers and embark on a job in the media, it’s generally in some booth with a microphone and lots of babble about field position and turnovers-will-kill-you. This is different: Stallworth is joining an inside-the-Beltway operation that covers a lot of politics, a lot of media and a lot of poverty.
The announcement kicked up some skepticism-cynicism in precisely the place you’d expect to find it:
— Sports in Heels (@_SportsinHeels) September 4, 2014
@ErikWemple Sad, I know some young journos who applied. They could have used that chance over a sideshow of hiring a former NFL player
— Mandy Jenkins (@mjenkins) September 4, 2014
When asked to elaborate on the hire, Grim responded, “He’s the real thing. But that’s the beauty of journalism, we do it out in public, you can judge for yourself what you think of his work. (Or, I suppose, you can judge beforehand. That’s fair by twitter rules.)” Vis-a-vis Stallworth’s qualifications, Grim said that “his LGBT work brought him to our attention and impressed us.” Stallworth has used his Twitter account as well as a Think Progress think piece to present passionate arguments supporting openly gay St. Louis Rams draftee Michael Sam and attacking old-line NFL homophobia. Even in his playing days, he spoke out on political topics even when his views contrasted with those of his coach.
Stallworth pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter for striking and killing a 59-year-old man in Florida in 2009. “We obviously believe in redemption and second chances,” notes Grim.
UPDATE 12:12: A great deal of attention is getting channeled toward Stallworth’s having tweeted 9/11 truther sentiments:
NO WAY 9/11 was carried out by “dying” Bin Laden, 19 men who couldn’t fly a damn kite. STILL have NO EVIDENCE Osama was connected, like Iraq
— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) July 20, 2009
We’re working on a separate post on this matter.