Donte Stallworth vs. Michael Vick: This Makes No Sense!

Midwest Sports FansAnalyst IJune 19, 2009

Does this country’s criminal justice system make any sense at all? I think not. Let’s compare the cases of the two NFL stars who have recently traveled through the criminal justice process.

First, the well documented case of Donte Stallworth.

If any of you were in a third world country in the last four months, I will recap for you. Donte Stallworth was driving drunk and killed a pedestrian in Miami on March 14 of this year.

His sentence: 30 days in jail, two years on house arrest, which will allow him to play football, and he settled with the 59-year-old victim’s family for an undisclosed dollar amount.

Onto Michael Vick. Vick was charged with felonies and later reached a plea agreement in December of 2007 for funding the operations of a dog fighting ring for a period of many years.

His sentence: 23 months in Federal Prison, followed by a period of house arrest. During this time, Vick lost $16 million in assets in his bankruptcy case.

Now the debate begins.

How in the hell can you kill a person, a grandfather, a father, a husband, a brother, an uncle, a freaking person, and only serve 30 days in jail, but for fighting dogs, which some still consider a sport, be jailed for two years? Does this make any sense at all?

I know, I know, I can hear all of the dog lovers of the world yelling, “My dog is a member of my family.” Great, so is mine. But I will not trade my wife’s, children’s, or parents’ life to save my dog, would you?

These crimes do not compare on any level, and yes, Stallworth I am sure paid a ton of money; but Vick lost everything as well as serving a prison term 23 times longer than Stallworth’s.

Vick’s actions were more common than you think, and most likely experienced by him in childhood which continued into his young adult life. I am not making excuses for Vick, but clearly an example was made out of Vick for his actions.

Look at the losses in these cases. Yes, a dog lost his life, but Vick did not steal your dog and kill it. Stallworth took a life from a family which will never come back.

Every time I dwell on this topic, it sickens me and disgusts me to know that if a high profile athlete drives while intoxicated and kills my family member, the criminal justice system would not hold him accountable at all.

My sympathies go out to the family and friends of the victim.


Kurt Fraschetti

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* - Donte Stallworth photo credit: ROBERT E. KLEIN/FOR THE GLOBE