Thursday, February 18, 2010

Donte Stallworth can make a difference off the field too

Ravens fans whose lives have been affected by drunk drivers will more than likely object to the Ravens’ signing of Donte Stallworth. After all it was Stallworth’s carelessness and irresponsibility that led to the death of Mario Reyes in Miami.

Stallworth served a little over three weeks in jail after a plea to DUI manslaughter. He also paid an undisclosed sum to the Reyes family.

Clearly this looks like an easy way out for a man with financial means.

By most counts Stallworth is a good guy who made a very bad mistake.

Is it better to make him suffer longer?

What might an extended incarceration correct? What might it change?

Would it change your opinion of Stallworth if you knew that the victim was also under the influence and that his surprise emergence as a pedestrian on to the expressway may have caught even a totally lucid driver off guard?

This by no means excuses Stallworth’s behavior and exonerates him from fault.

But couldn’t this have happened to just about anyone behind the wheel?

Half of Canton or Fells Point or Federal Hill could make the same deadly mistake on a Saturday night.

You know I once knew a guy who had his license suspended for 2 years due to a couple of DUI’s. Eventually he had his license reinstated. One evening after a couple of beers “John” left a bar, got in his car and headed home. He was hardly intoxicated.

On his way home, his car was struck by a drunk driver and as a result both he and the drunk driver were was asked to take a breathalyzer test. Confident that he was lucid John took the test – and flunked.

You can guess the rest of the story.

But back to Stallworth…

Here’s a guy who John Harbaugh and Ravens receivers coach Jim Hostler are both familiar with and they support his reinstatement. Former teammates and coaches have all spoken his praises. Steve Bisciotti, a man who built his fortune on a keen eye for talent and character believes in second chances and apparently he believes in Stallworth.

Sometimes second chances bring out the best in people.

Stallworth’s best doesn’t have to be on the field either.

What if he really reaches someone in your community and convinces them of the dangers of drinking and driving. In a flash all of your life’s work can be altered, destroyed or taken away. And if you don’t have the financial wherewithal of a Donte Stallworth, maybe YOU get taken away.

Some will argue and with good reason that Stallworth hasn’t really paid his debt to society.

But what if he is sincere in his quest to make a difference off the field?

What if he influences a potentially dangerous driver on a Saturday night to call a cab keeping the streets safer for all of our loved ones?

Isn’t that more worthwhile than extending his punishment in an unproductive way in some prison cell?

Yes his wealth keeps him from that cell, but can’t the celebrity that helped usher in such wealth also help our community in other ways?

It can, but that’s up to Stallworth.

“I know my apology will never be strong enough for some, but I’ve made changes, and I’m trying to be a positive influence. It’s an honor and privilege to play in the NFL, and I’m so thankful for this opportunity. I will make the best of it, and some people may listen to me because I will be playing. I hope I can do some good in delivering a message that could help someone or prevent someone from doing what I did.”

Time will tell if Stallworth is sincere.

Let’s hope that he is and that is words and actions are meaningful both inside AND outside the lines.


Jerry B said...

As I've said elsewhere, this is a good acquisition for many reasons and, as you point out, it could have off-the-field benefits as well. Here's hoping that he's not washed up and can help our heretofore feeble receiving corps and our community.........

Harryos29 said...

Harryos 29 Feb 19th 2010
I pretty much agree with JERRY B.
Face it...none of the NFL players are CHOIR BOYS! What happened to Dante was terrible. He paid the price for his mistake, not unlike Michael Vick.
... Last night I spoke with a friend who is a big Philadelphia Eagles fan, and he said that he was Impressed with DANTE during his time in Philly.
...Is this a desparate move? Maybe? But, with 3 of the 2009 receivers out there w/o 2010 contracts, the Ravens need bodies. Dante once had 4.3 speed in the 40 yard dash! Even if he is a bit slower, he is still faster, and a proven deep threat that the TEAM has not had since the Days of "Q" ISAMIAL (2000) and MICHAEL JACKSON back in (1996).
...Good Move, cannot wait for Traing camp at Mc Daniel!
...PS Who is the new SPORTS CHICK on with Scott Garceau? and Where did she come from? She doesn't seem to be as Argumentative as her predessor!