Perhaps one of the more surprising developments on the eve of the NFL season came from the Huffington Post, which announced Wednesday night that it had hired Donte’ Stallworth as … a politics fellow to cover national security.
But to regular consumers of his Twitter feed, Stallworth, who spent 10 years as a wide receiver with six teams in the NFL, has offered a reasoned take on a wide range of topics over the years. Along the way, he has quoted Einstein, Emerson, Locke and Voltaire, so perhaps the “national security” part of the announcement shouldn’t have been such a surprise.
“I’ve always wanted to cover national security,” Stallworth said in a telephone interview as he was waiting to board a flight. “Getting to know Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald helped and put me in the mind-set of this is how national security should be covered.”
Admittedly, this is a new venture for him, one that began with friendships with “a number of journalists at the Huffington Post,” but he has a template for how he’ll proceed. “I’ll approach every day like I did with football, with extra preparation and hard work.”
There was a time, a few years back, when Stallworth drew attention for 9/11 conspiracy tweets. “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” he tweeted on July 20, 2009. And he followed with ““Gggrrrrrrrrrrrrr @ ppl who actually believe a plane hit the pentagon on 9/11 … hole woulda been ASTRONOMICALLY bigger, God bless lost lives.”
Stallworth, who will turn 34 in November, doesn’t shy away from ownership of those tweets, which came at a time when he was more consumed with playing in the NFL than with fully forming his world view. “That was funny — it was probably my 10th tweet in the summer of 2009,” he said. “My view since then has totally changed, especially since I read James Bamford’s book, ‘The Shadow Factory.’ I came to realize what massive an intelligence failure 9/11 was. I changed my view probably a year or two after that [tweet]. Since then I’ve been more cautious, more thoughtful and I’ve tried to fact-check everything I’ve tweeted.”
Stallworth’s first post hasn’t been scheduled yet and the job description is fairly wide open with the “political” part of the announcement a possibility.
“I’m just really excited about this opportunity,” he said. “This is a passion of mine; it’s something I really want to do. I’m excited — it felt like opening day again.”
And, about those raised eyebrows over the HuffPo’s newest hire?
“I’ll prove everyone wrong,” he said. “People said never I’d make it in the NFL and I played for 10 years.”