Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Stallworth still has to deal with a stern Goodell

Idle thoughts from an idle mind as we idle into another week:

•No-nonsense NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is going to have to be harder than the courts were on Browns receiver Donte Stallworth.

To spend only 30 days in jail after killing a pedestrian while driving drunk - regardless of additional probation and community service hours - seems a gross miscarriage of justice, and the fact Stallworth reached a financial settlement with the 59-year-old victim's family lends the impression that another rich athlete bought his way out of further trouble.

"What sentence would you or I receive for a night of drinking and killing a man while driving drunk at 7:15 a.m.?" asked a reader via e-mail.

Well, we all know the answer.

But Stallworth is unlikely to buy his way out of anything with Goodell, who has forged a reputation during his still-short tenure as a law-and-order disciplinarian.

He immediately suspended Stallworth indefinitely and said that when the receiver leaves jail they'll have a meeting, "after which I will make a final determination of discipline."

Don't be surprised if Stallworth is suspended for the entire 2009 season. A judge didn't stiffen his spine against a plea deal, so it is left to Goodell to both protect the reputation of the NFL and see to it this incident doesn't end up as a slap in the face to victims of drunk driving and their families.

•Moving the women's portion of the Mid-American Conference basketball tournament to Toledo's new downtown arena seemed like a no-brainer. The league's previous commissioner, Rick Chryst, made it sound like a done deal. The new commissioner, Jon Steinbrecher, apparently had other ideas.

The MAC announced recently that men and women will continue to play in tandem at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland for the next two years, but that first-round games would be played on campus sites and only the top eight teams, in both genders, would advance to Cleveland.

That will help solve the scheduling gridlock at the Q, but the move is a step back from full-participation tourneys at a neutral site, a plan that supposedly will be put in place by 2012. Why the delay? Especially with a new 8,000-seat arena sitting in the geographic center of the MAC that would have allowed the women - and by extension the men - to shine as separate entities?

A league that isn't good enough to absorb bad decisions just made one.

•We've received word of the death of Dick Seymour, one of the "big backs" who played on Toledo's MAC championship teams in 1967 and '69, when the Rockets started a three-year unbeaten streak. He died in Columbus of cancer, just one of the health problems he'd fought gamely in recent years.

•The weather turned this into a moot point, but was anyone else surprised that when the U.S. Open finally got the third round started late Saturday afternoon the golfers were in twosomes and not threesomes?

Here's some background. After Thursday's opening round was all but washed away, United States Golf Association officials said Thursday tickets would be honored if play was carried over into Monday, but that otherwise there would be no refunds. Even the governor of New York got involved in a public relations flap, fueled by the New York City media, that made the USGA look bad. So officials huddled again and announced a new policy - Thursday tickets would be honored Monday, but if the tournament was concluded on schedule they would refund half the ticket cost, or about $2 million.

As I said, heavy overnight rains on Saturday/Sunday made it moot. But a cynic might suspect that by playing the third round in twosomes the USGA guaranteed there would be golf on Monday and no refunds would be due. Am I that cynical? Well, of course.

•Every newspaper's sports staff has a most valuable player who is not as well known to the reading public because his work is done behind the scenes. Our guy is named Dennis Horger and this is a happy/sad week for us at The Blade because it is Dennis' final work week before retirement.

Over more than three decades, Dennis has held every job in this department and has mastered each and every one. He tried writing for a spell, did it well, and then figured his future was behind a desk and an editing monitor. He has worked as a layout editor, copy editor, rewrite man, prep sports coordinator, and even as interim sports editor.

More than anything, though, he has served as our staff's memory bank and his knowledge of names and schools and every detail of every sport has saved each writer whose bylines appear on these pages considerable inaccuracies and embarrassment through the years.

They say a good editor completes a writer, and, as one of the latter who has repeatedly been bailed out by Dennis, I wholeheartedly agree.

They also say everybody is replaceable. In this case, I'm not sure I buy it.

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