NEW YORK — The NFL suspended Cleveland Browns star receiver Donte’ Stallworth, who killed a pedestrian while driving drunk.
In a letter to Stallworth, NFL commissioner Robert Goodell said Thursday the player’s actions caused “irreparable harm.” He will not be paid during the indefinite suspension.
Stallworth pleaded guilty this month to a DUI manslaughter charge for striking Mario Reyes on March 14 in Florida.
He began serving a 30-day jail sentence Tuesday and has reached a financial settlement with the family of the 59-year-old construction worker.
After jail, the 28-year-old Stallworth must serve two years of house arrest and spend eight years on probation. The house arrest provisions would allow him to play.
“The conduct reflected in your guilty plea resulted in the tragic loss of life and was inexcusable,” Goodell wrote. “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.”
In the letter, excerpts of which were released by the NFL, Goodell said he will eventually contact Stallworth’s representatives before determining the length of the suspension.
Browns spokesman Neal Gulkis said the team would comment later.
The last indefinite suspension handed down by Goodell was to Adam (Pacman) Jones of the Dallas Cowboys in October 2008. That punishment turned into a six-week ban.
After a night drinking at a bar in Miami Beach’s Fountainebleau hotel, police said Stallworth hit Reyes, who was rushing to catch a bus after finishing work about 7:15 a.m. Stallworth told police he flashed his lights in an attempt to warn Reyes, who was not in a crosswalk when struck.
Stallworth had a blood-alcohol level well above Florida’s limit. Stallworth stopped after the crash and immediately told officers he had hit Reyes. Police estimated Stallworth was driving about 50 m.p.h. in a 40 m.p.h. zone.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle cited Stallworth’s co-operation and willingness to accept responsibility as factors in the plea deal.
Rundle also said the Reyes family — particularly the victim’s 15-year-old daughter — wanted the case resolved to avoid any more pain. Stallworth also must undergo drug and alcohol testing. His driver’s licence was suspended for life and he must perform 1,000 hours of community service.