As some of you know, the last year has been a rough one for Donte Stallworth. Last March, Donte was driving his Bentley at 7am near Miami Beach when he struck and killed a man. That man, Mario Reyes, was jaywalking but Stallworth was legally intoxicated. Stallworth was charged, but due to a kink in Florida “at fault” law, he was not charged with the homicide, but rather manslaughter as Reyes was illegally crossing the street.
Now I’m not saying that Stallworth’s lapse in judgement and resultant guilt is worse than what the Reyes and his family went through. He does have to live the rest of his life knowing he killed an innocent man and dealing with that guilt. Though he faced up to 15 years in Jail, he was able to plead down to a 30 day sentence in jail. He also reached a financial settlement with the Reyes family in order to not face a civil suit. The details are not known, but he did have $5 million in insurance in both auto and umbrella coverage. The NFL followed up by suspending him for a minimum of one year.
I do completely realize that he “got off easy”, but it still was a difficult year for the man and then Haiti happened. You know that 7.0 magnitude earthquake that’s been blanketed in news coverage over the last week. People have been doing all that they can to help the people of the impoverished nation even in the time of our own economic “crisis”. Everyday citizens have been texting to various numbers and having a donation be billed to their phone bills, and Red Cross donation centers have been popping up in malls and many other locations.
Donte has taken to God in a manner to help him. His Twitter bio is Proverbs 3: 5-6, which means: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Going off his faith, whether it’s newfound or not, he realized that he couldn’t sit by and not do anything about Haiti. He partnered up with Project Medishare to help out in Haiti. Embracing his Twitter account, he announced that he was donating $1 for every Twitter follower he had at the end of the day, so to retweet the message and spread the word. After reaching his goal, he has since thanked everyone and said that we’re all free to unfollow him now. Part way through his “fundraising” he phoned his friend, Wes Welker of the Patriots, who said that he would match Donte’s donation dollar for dollar. Josh Cribbs also partnered up later in the day and said he’d donate $1 dollar for every follower he had by the end of the day.
Donte’s message spread far, and he gained well over 20K followers. This pushed him up to 34,200 followers, which meant that his donation of $34,200 would be matched by Welker. Josh Cribbs joined the party late, but did see a smaller boost in followers and ended the day at ~ 17.5K followers. That means these three men donated ~$89,000 to Haiti. In a league where the the majority of the millionaire players end up living paycheck to paycheck that comes off as extremely generous and selfless. Sure it’s not the $3 million that Tiger Woods donated, but Tiger is worth nearly $1 billion dollars and every cent counts.
Donte still has a long way to go before society will completely forgive him, and not consider him being allowed back into the NFL a joke. Killing a man is still and will always be a big deal, especially when it was alchohol related and could have been avoided by say taking a cab. Having said that, while his attempt to help Haiti doesn’t seem to be a manipulation of public opinion but rather a genuine attempt to help those in need, he has started to gain back some of the Karma that he lost on that fateful day last March. I for one sincerely hope that he is this genuine and wish him luck on the road to redemption.