In the early morning hours of March 14, 2009, Donte’ Stallworth was driving while under the influence of alcohol when his car struck and killed a 59-year-old man named Mario Reyes.
Once the news of the accident broke that day, Stallworth received a message of support from Tom Brady, his quarterback in 2007 when he played for the New England Patriots.
“A lot of people know the kind of person you are,” Brady told Stallworth via text message, according to Peter King of SI.com. “You’re a good person.”
King spent some time talking to Stallworth last week and details their conversation in today’s Monday Morning Quarterback column. In addition to talking about the support he got from Brady, Stallworth discussed the fact that he spent only 24 days in jail for the crime.
“I understood why people were angry about the sentence,” said Stallworth. “I understand human psychology; I majored in psychology at Tennessee. Everyone wants every story to be black and white, but sometime they’re not. It was an intricate case. People hear ‘alcohol’ and they hear ‘deceased’ and they tie the two together. But this case just wasn’t that easy. I can tell you from being in the middle of it, the police did extensive investigation into the case, and they had no reason to let me off easy.”
Stallworth also said he tried to make productive use of those 24 days by spending it reading and writing.
“They don’t give you a schedule in there,” he said. “When the lights go off, they go off. But I wanted to make sure this was not a period of despondency for me. I wanted to learn from it, and read and write. I also met a lot of guys in there who were great to me. They’ve written me since. I never had a high level of anxiety in there, and a lot of the guys basically told me, You don’t want to be in here; go live life.”