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Burress Ruling Could Help Stallworth

The day before Browns receiver Donte’ Stallworth’s Bentley collided with Mario Reyes in Miami Beach, Stallworth earned a $4.875 million roster bonus.
But we’re told that the check isn’t actually due to be paid until May 2009.
Some league observers assume that the Browns will stiff Stallworth.  But the hot-off-the-presses Plaxico Burress grievance stands for the proposition that forfeiture language is enforceable only if the player holds out or retires.
Though there’s an open question as to whether the forfeiture language also applies to a guy who doesn’t show up because he’s in jail, it would seem to be fairly easy to delay the ultimate prosecution of Stallworth until after the 2009 football season ends.
And given that the signing bonus forfeiture language applies only to signing bonuses and not to roster bonuses and given that Stallworth was on the roster the day the payment came due, it suddenly got even harder for the Browns to justify stiffing Stallworth based on the same reasoning that supports a forfeiture of previously-paid signing bonus money.
That said, the Browns might very well decide to hold the money, since it will be much easier to get the money back if they’ve never given it to Stallworth, in the event that the Browns prevail in the eventual legal fight.
But we think that players need to have greater rights when it comes to the intentional withholding of wages.  As far as we can tell, there’s currently no downside for the teams.  If they lose the grievance, they simply pay the money that would have been paid out in the first place.
So we think the union should push for some meaningful penalties – something more than interest and counsel fees — where teams wrongfully keep in their pockets money that rightfully should be paid to the players.

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12 Responses to “Burress Ruling Could Help Stallworth”
  1. davidafink says: Apr 6, 2009 12:56 PM

    Ok great so did they rule in the Larry Johnson case yet?

  2. mholt59 says: Apr 6, 2009 1:09 PM

    Not that, in the grand scheme of things, anything can come close to diminishing the pain Mr. Reyes family suffers, but hopefully, this money will find its way into their bank accounts, while Donte reflects on “what could have been” in prison.

  3. jpackerdell says: Apr 6, 2009 1:37 PM

    There a witness saying that stallworth did everything he could not to hit the man.The man was also jay walking which leaves me to belevie that stallworth couldnt have done any thing even if he was sober so he should get to keep his money.

  4. bender says: Apr 6, 2009 1:40 PM

    i bet he plays in 09 – it gives the victim’s family more to pursue civilly

  5. dave61 says: Apr 6, 2009 2:03 PM

    Wheres the commish and his no nosense tough act? When is the NFL gonna say something? Anyhow look for the big splash in the draft by the browns on april 25th florio….. youll see at least 3 players trade…. Braylon Edwards, Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson…. the browns will have 3 1st rounders, 3 second rounders, and 2 thirds…. no 5 pick will be our new franchise qb Mark Sanchez….. who will learn under one of the veteran qbs that is unsigned….. and to all those players who say they don’t want to play for Eric Mangini…. theyre all players that are losers and havent won a damn thing….. bet if they needed a contract theyed sign anywhere.

  6. Zaggs says: Apr 6, 2009 2:12 PM

    “Not that, in the grand scheme of things, anything can come close to diminishing the pain Mr. Reyes family suffers, but hopefully, this money will find its way into their bank accounts, while Donte reflects on “what could have been” in prison. ”
    Really JPack? “everything he could” you mean like..oh I don’t know…STOPPING HIS DAMN CAR?!

  7. empty13 says: Apr 6, 2009 2:29 PM

    stallworth was still lit. he didnt try hard enough, clearly.
    nice try, posse.

  8. DAWKPHAN says: Apr 6, 2009 2:35 PM

    Dave61: Step away from the pipe Dude ! I think you’ve been hitting it pretty hard. How could they afford to sign 3 firsts, 3 seconds , and 2 thirds even if they could get them in the first place???
    Remember one day at a time is the motto the first step is to admit you have a problem , and I’d say you do! Good Luck

  9. sacked92 says: Apr 6, 2009 2:36 PM

    weekend mornings are not the time to be on the road…should’ve hired a driver

  10. Ralph GreNader says: Apr 6, 2009 2:42 PM

    I would hazard a guess that the roster bonus is aglb assumption and incentive that/for the player to participate in the upcoming season. The browns best argument is that he voluntarily intoxicated himself so the consequences are voluntary as well. That scenario sounds ludicrous but so does the idea of paying someone almost 5 mill who will do nothing to contribute toward a productive season. The browns can absolutely win this. Its a different s
    Situation then burress’ in the sense that he actually went through camp and played at least a down for the team.

  11. electricrelish says: Apr 6, 2009 2:55 PM

    First, Stallworth’s accident is a separate issue that his roster bonus. Second, Stallworth should be paid in full. It will cost Stallworth money just to go after the money that is due to him. I wholeheartedly agree that there should be a penalty for teams that withhold wages.

  12. Kevin from Philly says: Apr 6, 2009 4:09 PM

    Dave61, they might trade 2 out of those three, but no way do you get a first for either QB, and you’d probably only get a low 1st rounder for Edwards (at best). Dawkphan is right – you must be on something strong (but not good).

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