By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 19, 2009
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth indefinitely without pay, the league announced yesterday.
The suspension came two days after Stallworth pleaded guilty to killing a pedestrian while driving drunk and was sentenced to 30 days in jail under a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Under the terms of the plea deal, Stallworth's jail term is to be followed by 10 years of probation, the first two of which reportedly will include restrictions on his ability to leave his home.
Goodell suspended Stallworth under the NFL's personal conduct and substance abuse policies, according to the league's announcement. Goodell prohibited Stallworth from visiting the Browns' training facility and barred him from all team-related activities pending a yet-to-be-scheduled meeting, after which Goodell will make a final decision about the length of the suspension, the league announced.
"The conduct reflected in your guilty plea resulted in the tragic loss of life and was inexcusable," Goodell wrote Stallworth, according to the league's announcement. "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."
David Cornwell, an attorney for Stallworth, issued a statement in which he called the suspension "the first step in the NFL disciplinary process." He expressed confidence that the factors that led to the resolution of the legal case against Stallworth "will be equally persuasive" with Goodell.
Stallworth was charged with DUI manslaughter and faced a potential 15 years in prison. His blood alcohol level was above the legal limit after his vehicle struck and killed crane operator Mario Reyes, 59, in March in Miami Beach.