The Bald Truth
The Browns won't commit to bringing Donte' Stallworth back next season. Fair enough. He has to earn their trust.
I applaud NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for doing what the courts were afraid to do: punish Stallworth harshly for getting drunk, getting behind the wheel of a car and killing an innocent man. The one-year suspension without pay won't bring the victim back to life, but at least it's something real - as opposed to the 24-day jail sentence Stallworth served.
I also applaud Stallworth. He could have reacted any number of ways after the suspension was handed down Thursday. He could have been irate. He could have acted as if he were the victim. He could have made noise about appealing, either through the union or the courts.
Instead, he issued this statement:
"Regardless of the length of my suspension, I will carry the burden of (the victim's) death for the rest of my life. I urge NFL fans not to judge NFL players or me based on my tragic lapse in judgment. I am a good person who did a bad thing. I will use the period of my suspension to reflect, fulfill my obligations, and use this experience to make a positive impact on the lives of those who look up to NFL players."
Maybe he took that tone just to save his career, but at least he took it.
If he comes out of this a better person, he will deserve a chance to do what he does best - if not for Cleveland, than for another team.
"He gave Lou exactly what he needed - a deep outing." - Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly as Ryan Dempster neared the end of a seven-inning, six-run, two-HR, eight-hit outing in Thursday's 6-1 loss to the Phillies.
Hey, I'm a big Bob Brenly fan because he tells it like it is more often than just about any team announcer in the bigs ... but really?
A $52 million pitcher gives up six runs to fall to 6-6 with a 4.23 ERA for a team that is crashing and burning, and he gets a big thumbs-up just because he labored through seven innings in yet another lopsided defeat for Lou Piniella's losers?
I understand that the Cubs scored only once and that the result was hardly Dempster's fault, but does he really deserve praise for pitching seven innings of batting practice?
How in the name of Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver and Sandy Koufax did actual performances on the mound become secondary to eating innings?
THE BALDEST TRUTH
Even if Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was motivated at least in part by his desire to steal some thunder from the Phillies, his signing of convicted dog torturer Michael Vick showed guts and compassion.
My longtime readers know I'm a big believer in second chances. Vick committed a heinous crime and served a long sentence. He has been apologetic and humble.
The ultimate goal of incarceration is to rehabilitate criminals, to make them valuable contributors to society.
Lurie obviously knows PETA will be out in full force, picketing Eagles games to draw attention to their cause. Well, if the PETA folks would look at the big picture, they would realize that having Vick campaign publicly against inhumane treatment of animals - as he says he will - is far more valuable than having him manage a Waffle House in Podunk.
As for the football side of it, I'm a little surprised Vick landed in Philly, where Donovan McNabb just got a lucrative contract extension and where coach Andy Reid benched McNabb at one point last season in favor of supposed QB of the future Kevin Kolb.
So either Reid is no longer very high on Kolb or the coach is intrigued by the many roles Vick can play in the offense (or maybe a little of both).
Whatever the reason, I'm glad to see our legal system working properly.
Now, here's hoping that a Falcon turned Eagle truly will spread his wings and take flight.
Become a solid citizen, Mr. Vick, and prove you deserve the tremendous second chance you have received.