NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell notified Donte’ Stallworth of the Cleveland Browns today that he is suspended indefinitely without pay from the National Football League, effective immediately.
Following are excerpts from Commissioner Goodell’s letter to Stallworth:
- “The conduct reflected in your guilty plea resulted in the tragic loss of life and was inexcusable. 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.”
- “The conduct that led to your conviction plainly violates both the Personal Conduct and Substances of Abuse policies. Either provides me with full authority to take appropriate disciplinary action against you, including a fine or suspension without pay, and to impose appropriate conditions on your continued participation in the NFL. In this case, there is ample evidence to warrant significant discipline under both policies.”
- “There is no reasonable dispute that your continued eligibility for participation at this time would undermine the integrity of and public confidence in our league. Accordingly, I have decided to suspend you indefinitely, effective immediately. In due course, we will contact your representatives to schedule a meeting with you, after which I will make a final determination on discipline. Pending my final determination, you will not be permitted to visit the club’s facility or participate in any team activities.”
- “Everyone associated with the league derives tremendous benefits from participating in our game and from the extraordinary support we receive from the public. With these benefits comes, among other things, the responsibility to conduct ourselves in a lawful and responsible way, with no entitlement to or expectation of favorable treatment.”
Under NFL policies, all NFL employees recognize that alcohol-related violations of law will not be tolerated and that they will be held accountable over and above any sanctions imposed by a court of law. This accountability to the NFL for alcohol-related violations of law includes discipline in the form of major fines and suspensions without pay. The level of discipline is significantly increased in cases involving aggravating circumstances and/or repeat offenses.
In addition to a comprehensive testing and treatment program for substance abuse, the NFL and NFL Players Association have extensive education and prevention resources available to players and all other league and club employees. One of those resources is a "safe rides" program used by most clubs to provide players and other employees with alternative means of transportation if they have consumed alcoholic beverages. Commissioner Goodell notified all clubs earlier this year that there will be increased emphasis on addressing DUIs and other misconduct.