17 June 2009

Athletes and the Justice System

On Monday, Cleveland Browns receiver Donte Stallworth reached a deal in his case regarding a DUI fatality he was found guilty of earlier this year. He made what was called a "substantial financial settlement" with the victim's family. You could say this was expected, considering he makes millions in the NFL. What was unexpected was that he will spend 30 days (yes, days) in jail. Thirty days, for a DUI fatality.

On the flip side, now former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was found guilty of leading a dogfighting ring and spent nearly two years in jail. There were mass protest against what he did and about the vicious creulty to the dogs. The punishment fit the crime for the most part, although it remains to be seen how his comeback will go this summer.

Why, in 2009, do we not see protests against Stallworth's sentence? He drove drunk and killed someone, and yet people are glaringly silent. Vick killed dogs and people couldn't shut up about it. Have we reached a place in our society where we value the life of a dog more than that of a human? I would like to hope not.

More so, just because these men are professional athletes does not excuse them from due process of law or the full penalty under the law. If someone is found guilty of murder, the judge should have the right to throw the book at them, regardless of social status. A crime is a crime is a crime, and guilty is guilty. Why, in 2009, are we still debating this?

That's my take...

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