Schmitt Should Be Suspended For A Year

It’s no secret in these parts that yours truly follows closely the football program at West Virginia University.  And we’ve got a soft spot for the former fullback with a head harder than reinforced concrete.
But Owen Schmitt, who now plays for the Seahawks, deserves — and will receive — no excuses or explanations or benefits of the doubt from us.
Only two days after Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended indefinitely Browns receiver Donte’ Stallworth for killing a man while driving drunk, Schmitt filled his body with enough alcohol to result in more than twice the legal limit of it invading his blood.
And then Schmitt got behind the wheel of a car.
But for the grace of God, Schmitt — and most of the NFL players who have driven drunk before him — did not kill anyone.
In our view, a significant penalty for drunk driving shouldn’t attach only to players who end up claiming a life.  The NFL should treat all drunk drivers the same, because any of them can, in theory, commit manslaughter.
As a result, we think that Stallworth should be suspended for a year, that Schmitt should be suspended for a year, and that any other NFL player who drives drunk should be suspended for a year.
The Stallworth case convinces us that Goodell needs to take decisive action that will convince these men of considerable means to ensure before they begin to impair their judgment with alcohol that they’ve made advance arrangements to get home.
And, in our view, what Schmitt did is far more stupid than what Stallworth did, because Schmitt was in position to learn from Stallworth’s mistake.

51 responses to “Schmitt Should Be Suspended For A Year

  1. and thus, a chain of events began which ended up with mike florio starting at quarterback for the new york jets… because all the drunk driving nfl players, even those who didnt run over anyone, became disqualified from playing in the nfl…

  2. perhaps Goodell should use the law as a basis for punishment.
    * Lose your driver license,
    * Serve 12 months of probation,
    * Pay a substantial fine,
    * Pay increased insurance premiums, and
    * Be adjudicated guilty, which means a permanent criminal record!
    DUI penalties increase based on the frequency of DUI convictions and the severity of your current DUI offense.
    The most current DUI penalties can be found in Section 316.193, Florida Statutes.
    First Time DUI Penalties Minimum Penalty Maximum Penalty
    $250 $500
    Jail Time Six Months
    Other Penalties
    * 50 hours of community service.
    * Completion of approved DUI Counter Attack School.
    * Substance abuse evaluation and completion of any recommended treatment.

  3. Good point but is a year long enough? 2 years minimum for drunk drivers should be a rule if Goodell wants to convince the players

  4. Wow.
    Good thing Florio’s former law firm, or any other employer in America, didn’t have the policy which Florio is now advocating….or else there would be a lot of people who would wake up without jobs tomorrow.

  5. Couldnt agree more. %100 with you on this one.
    This knucklehead is either an arrogant prick or dumber than the teflon he straps on each week.
    Absolutely no excuse to be that stupid especially after youve been put on notice.

  6. I thought you were a lawyer Florio?
    Now that you quit your day job, which I’m not sure was a good idea, have you already forgotten about mitigating circumstances?
    Should a man that steals a loaf of bread to feed his family spend the same amount of time in jail as a guy who steals a bread truck?
    Of course Schmitt is an idiot, especially considering the timing, but you know as well as i do that DUI is not the same as DUI MANSLAUGHTER. Did he get lucky? Hell yes. Should he be punished? Of course, but the punishment should fit the crime and those two crimes are not the same. The NFL can not start punishing players for things that might have been, and to suggest it is to tread into dangerous territory.

  7. no one’s made a joke about the ‘Schmidt hitting the fan’ or ‘Schmidt out of luck’ or ‘Holy Schmidt!’ or ‘Seahawk FB caught driving Schmidt-faced’?
    you guys disappoint me…
    luckily I’m sure Vox Veritas will step in this thread and Schmidt all over it, somehow making it a Cowboy/Romo love-fest…

  8. and yes, I spelled Schmitt’s name wrong in my last post…
    I guess that makes me dumber than Schmitt, a real Schmitt head…

  9. I don’t think he should be suspended for a year. I don’t disagree that DUI is a very serious offense, however, missing a full year for a (huge) mistake is a bit over the top. The problem with just blindly suspending a guy for 1 year for DUI is that maybe that person has a disease called alcoholism. I think he should be punished because he represents the Seahawks and the NFL. First, he should be suspended. One game for a first offense, 4 games for a second offense, indefinite for third offense with a minimum of 1 year. Also, with any drug or alcohol related offenses, they have to complete an inpatient (meaning no cell phones, no cars, you spend your time at the place) rehab.

  10. Drunk driving is stupid. With all of the accidents and deaths over the years, I don’t think anybody today has any excuse for being caught excessively drunk. And that’s the part I think some commenters are missing. We’re not talking about a .09 or a .08. We’re talking about TWICE the legal limit. I might be more sympathetic if someone blew something close to the limit for a first offense. But, not in this case. Maybe after a year suspension some players will finally take notice. Maybe some fans will too.
    Has anybody speculated that Goodell might effectively suspend Stallworth for more than two years? I believe Vick is not set to even be considered for re-instatement until his house arrest is done with. Goodell might wait until Stallworth’s “House Arrest Lite” is up after, what, two years? (If this has already been brought up, my apologies. I’m too lazy to read all comments everywhere. That’s why we pay Mr. Florio.)

  11. Stallworth had Littles example and, like all of us, countless others as well.
    So I don’t think Schmitt is more culpable than Stallworth but I do like the idea of hard line league policy.

  12. I think being dumb enough to get a DUI right after the Stallworth thing deserves a one year suspension.
    Also, if Roger Goodell was smart, when handing down the Stallworth judgment, he should have added “And the next player to get a DUI is suspended for a year.”
    May not eliminate it altogether, but damn would it help….and be awesome.

  13. “The NFL can not start punishing players for things that might have been, and to suggest it is to tread into dangerous territory.”
    Agree totally. Have the country could be in jail or out of work if that was the case.
    clint taurus thanks for the joke of the day, good one 🙂

  14. What Schmitt did is far more stupid than what Stallworth did? Stallworth had past substance abuse problems and killed a person!
    This guy made a mistake and immediately took responsibility for his actions.

  15. No No No Florio, 1 yr is waaay too long. A DUI conviction should result in a mandatory suspension of 3 games….without pay

  16. theres no excuse for drunk driving. but based on your argument, any sober person behind the wheel (over the limit or not) can commit manslaughter too.

  17. I can’t figure out why Florio would shill so hard for something like this … except … let me guess … MADD is the new profootballtalk sponsor.

  18. Wow, you have officially lost your mind Florio.
    Do we also suspend players caught speeding, running red lights, changing lanes without a signal? these other mistakes/lapses in judgement COULD also result in loss of life.
    and it is completely irrelevant that Schmitt got caught 2 days after Stallworth was suspended. Like Stallworth didn’t have an example to show him that DWI is wrong, and potentially life ruining? how much time exactly should pass after a DWI tragedy before a player is no longer expected to know better?

  19. so this is what happens when CBS comes knocking Florio? sell out your own alma mater quicker than someone can say “mike vick”… lame, quit trying to throw the dogs off your scent, pun intended, your just saying this to appease the doubters, im sure you cried in the bathtub all day when YET ANOTHER WVU player got arrested… pacman? chris henry?… just wait, pat whites day will come

  20. I continue to be confused by how many people have no problem with people driving drunk and protest and strong punishment for them. “Oh, you just fired a gun in the air in a crowded room, but no one got hit, so we’ll let you off with a wrist slap.” And you don’t just punish people for the crime they commit, you punish them to deter them (or others) from committing a crime. So it makes sense to have a big punishment whether you kill someone or not.
    I could understand the argument that a year is too long because what kind of trouble could these guys get into with being banished a year, but the complaint the “Who cares, everyone does it” excuses need to be ignored. A flat punishment, regardless of the outcomes, forces players to not be able to think “Well, as long as I don’t hit someone I’ll be fine” makes sense. Because let’s face it, how many of them hit someone? But how many take way to dangerous of a chance with other people’s lives? Clearly the current punishment isn’t enough to deter people, even after their first time getting caught. I mean how many of them have gotten caught multiple times? I’d say 1/2 a year first time, and if that doesn’t make enough of them call a cab, up it again. And maybe do something like their team get an extra a transition tag that they can use on them without having to use their real one. Seeing as how much they hate getting tagged, maybe that would have an effect. Something. But the arrest meter rarely hitting even 20 should tell people that the current policy is just not enough.

  21. I think that there should be a substantial penalty for these players. They make plenty of money to hire a driver for the evening or a limo. How stupid are they?
    I get a ride when ever I’m planning on drinking why can’t they?
    I can’t even imagine why they would ever get into the situations that they do. They have hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions. A 200 to 400 dollar limo for the night won’t break them.
    They are, whether they like it or not, role models.
    4 game suspension at a minimum without pay of course. Second offense a year off.

  22. The idea is deterrence. Do not wait for the tragedy but do something to prevent the tragedy in the first place. This brings up the concept of cause and effect. If drunk driving didn’t increase the likelihood of fatal accidents then drunk driving wouldn’t be illegal. But it does and you can not get rid of the effect (increased fatalities) without eliminating the cause (drunk driving).
    People drive drunk because they don’t think they are impaired even when they are. They are not in a position to judge themselves. This is why you cannot separate cause and effect. So the only way to get rid of drunk driving is to punish people for it regardless of the circumstance.

  23. I read in the paper yesterday that the guy who stoled Lance Armstrongs bike got three years in prison and Stallworth has a DUI which kills a man gets thirty days. I guess the old statement by lawyers is true “you are innocent till proving broke”

  24. florio what is with this ” we “…listen uppitty, gutter lawyer…stallworth needs to be in prison..minimum 10 yrs….schmitt is a dumbass…give him a year…they deserve the same sentence from roger?…you are f n nuts.tweet boy

  25. Are you serious? You think someone that killed a man should get the same punishment as someone who did something totally stupid, but killed no one? You want to suspend someone, becuase “in theory” they could have done something?
    You really think Schmitt needed Stallworth to kill someone to learn that lesson? I think we all know we shouldn’t drive drunk, even before Stallworth. Maybe not you Florio, but most of us.
    I think sometimes you get bored and type the first dumb thing that pops into your head.

  26. This is the most outlandish shit I have heard from this site. He deserves whatever punishment that the NFL decides to give him… but the same as Stallworth? Are you serious? Because he should have learned Stallworth’s lesson? And I suppose millions of drunk driving deaths that happened before Stallworth should serve as no lesson to him?
    Now I know some of you east coast reporters hold a bias against the west… but damn. How about some objective reporting?

  27. Florio, you paint everyone one with the same brush. Certain people have the ability to have a very large amount of alcohol and still be able to concentrate perfectly in order to drive or do some other concentration requiring activity if need be. I would know.

  28. My question is why is florio’s public stance harder on this guy than it was on Stallworth?

  29. A year for a first offense is a little over the top………four games first time and indefinite second offense. And those second offenders could only come back after a year of a rigid substance abuse treatment, weekly piss tests (at the players cost) and lots of community service over and above what the court would pass out.
    Though I will agree that “extreme DUI” cases should maybe be treated more harshly.

  30. Who would think a guy who repeatedly smashed a helmet into his forehead would not learn a lesson from Stallworth?

  31. I always wondered why DUI’s are not really frowned upon by us as a culture, but I got a theory.
    We like to get drunk, we have seen people do idiotic things while drunk and just pass it off as being ok since the person was only drunk and “not really doing it”. Our culture has accepted alcohol and all it’s negatives as everyday life so when we see someone get caught drunk driving we think “Wow, that could be me” and therefore we don’t want to really hammer the guy since it easily could have been us. We feel less sorry for people in other crimes that are not as accepted by society (Dog Fighting comes to mind).
    Our country has a DUI problem and the worse thing people can do is act like it’s no big deal. “Well, a sober person could have killed someone too” Well no kidding, but years of research have showed us that the odds are greater when your are impaired.
    Is our country that addicted to alcohol that they can’t pass up driving when they are drunk? Is it really that hard?

  32. There is always some idiot like Stallworth that gives drinking and driving a bad name. Hundreds of thousands of citizens drink and drive and are on the roads right now and most do not crash or cause any trouble to society.
    Punish those that do harm not those that drink and drive responsibly and cause no trouble for anyone.

  33. FLORIO!! For once I overwhelmingly agree with you.
    In GA, first time DUI’s exceed $500 in fines and probation fees.
    By “probation fees” I mean a mandatory donation to the Battered Women’s Fund, Brain fund (which funds research for brain trauma), and a $35/month to pay the probation officer.
    My DUI cost me roughly $700 to $800 in fines 9 years ago. On top of that you’re on probation for one year. You lose your license for six months. You serve a mandatory 24 hours in jail (most of the time you get time served for how long they held you). 40 hours of community service. Drastically increased insurance rates for 7 friggin’ years.
    A second DUI means:
    *Increased Fines
    *2 year probation
    *1 year license suspension
    *30 days in jail, mandatory.
    *Interlocking system on ignition for 6 months (you pay monthly maintenance fees, has to be checked monthly by authorized personell)
    *Psychiatric evaluations (that you pay for)
    *120 hours community service
    *DUI school ($285)
    *Defensive driving school (roughly $65)
    Hate to sound like a Mastercard commercial, but, putting the general public at risk…. PRICELESS!
    Goodell should suspend these players and make them donate some money to Kiri who has been hit hard by the economic downturn.

  34. I think there should be a stiffer punishment but not as much as someone who has taken a life…Because depends on the case too someone could barley be over the limit they maybe had 2 piss water bears… and serve a year?when no ones life was at risk because their their judgment wasn’t impaired..I’d say like 2-4 games….
    But this guy was smashed and luckily no one was hurt but I do feel he deserves a harsh punishment to send a message.

  35. Florio…both you and Goodell should get off of your high horse.
    It’s not up to you two to decide what punishment should be, or to heap additional punishments on top of what the laws dictate. These are things that should be decided by the courts. That’s why we have them.

  36. it’s nice to see all of the drunks out here to support one another. There’s no accountability for one’s actions in this country anymore. Drinking for the sake of getting drunk is stupid in itself, but to get behind the wheel of a car while drunk is downright mindless and you should lose your license for 5 years if caught doing so.

  37. 3 efin, any private business has the right to take action for cause regardless of law.
    I’m pretty sure if you embezzle from your company they would fire you which would automatically be a longer term punishment than the law would dole out.

  38. I have to be a man and admit that Florio proved he will take to task a former WV player, after I ripped him in two previous comments sections. However, I believe you may have a gone a bit too far in your zealousness to rip a WV grad. A year for a first-time DUI offender is insane. Yes, DUI is wrong. Yes, it should be punished. But there are no specific guidelines in the NFL for doling out punishment, and I think it is crazy to let the commissioner have such overwhelming authority to suspend guys without there being some type of guidelines.
    I think it should be similar to the drug policy, where a guy gets 4 games the first offense. And he is in the abuse program after the first offense. But a year…for a first offense…is absolutely ludicrous.

  39. Great lawyering there Florio but where’s the intent? The main thing to remember about DUI is that everything is impaired, including judgment. Do you really think Schmitt knew what his BAC was when he attempted to drive? And do you think with the more drunk he got that it mattered less and less? Scmitt and all other NFLers punishment should be severe even for first time offenders… but an entire season when there was no other crime other than being drunk and driving? Didn’t Tom Cruise make a stupid movie about catching killers BEFORE they killed and it was eventually discovered that a crime has to actually be committed in order to convict somebody of that crime? You’re turning into quite the self-righteous lib now that you’ve teamed up with NBC, big surprise there, maybe Olbermann will share and pass on his Socialist views to you.
    Stick to the facts, Florio. Your editorials are severely lacking anything other than self-righteousness and poorly thought out views.

  40. “it just has to stop”.
    no, you freedom grabbing mama’s boys need to stop.
    florio, are you pitching all this to secure more business?

  41. florio kudos for the reporting.
    it’s unbelievable how many people miss the point about drunk driving,it’s against the law because you are not fully capable of driving a vehicle,period.
    a lot of the people here are complaining about the application of goodell justice,ok,lets do the punishment method this way,from now on if you are convicted of drunk driving,one year,no pay.if you blow .09 or .19,it’s still one year,case closed.

  42. Jared Allen only got 2 games (4 games reduced to 2) and it was his second DUI in two years. Third if you go back to college. Suspending him Schmidt and Stallworth for anything more than 4 games seems unfair and excessive IMO.

  43. brasho says:
    June 26th, 2009 at 9:22 am
    “Great lawyering there Florio but where’s the intent? The main thing to remember about DUI is that everything is impaired, including judgment. Do you really think Schmitt knew what his BAC was when he attempted to drive? And do you think with the more drunk he got that it mattered less and less? Scmitt and all other NFLers punishment should be severe even for first time offenders… but an entire season when there was no other crime other than being drunk and driving?”
    It’s a good thing you’re not a lawyer, because you are terrible at making a standing argument. There are people called designated drivers who are asked to be sober the entire night and make the judgement calls for people who are too drunk to think straight. Schmitt has more than enough money to hire someone for this sole reason or find a friend to do it for free. There’s also the burden of the individual to drink responsibly. If you’re going to get that Schmittfaced, then drink at a house and don’t leave.
    “Didn’t Tom Cruise make a stupid movie about catching killers BEFORE they killed and it was eventually discovered that a crime has to actually be committed in order to convict somebody of that crime? You’re turning into quite the self-righteous lib now that you’ve teamed up with NBC, big surprise there, maybe Olbermann will share and pass on his Socialist views to you.”
    So your argument is based on the plot of a Tom Cruise movie? I’m still baffled at the political namecalling. Going soft on criminals and taking the responsiblity away from the individual is a liberal thing, not the other way around. Conservatives are for harsh punishments. See: Death Penalty. Do you even know the difference? Obviously not. This point is all moot anyway, because it’s a private business dolling out a sentence that is separate from breaking the law. If the NFL (a private business) doesn’t want a bunch of drunks who can’t take responsibity in their league, then they have a right to set up any guideline and punishment they darn well please.

  44. Mike: In mid-80’s California, the average arrestee ran .18+ BAC. That’s over an average then of some 350,000 arrestees per year (Cal.) (For the record, convictions ran about 70% depending on the county) Now the per se level is universally .08% BAC with the number of arrestees down by almost half. But the average arrestee now isn’t down all that much. That’s the rub. Generally speaking – and this should be checked in your own state – a .15% level or above is deemed to be alcohol abuse. So let’s get to Mike’s crusade. True, this guy could easily be subjected to an immediate per se alcohol-abuse suspension. However, to treat him or any DUI as a per se manslaughter charge – No way. I have a suggestion to the Commish. Require every player-drinker to have an ignition interlock device (IID) in the vehicle – voluntarily. This is guaranteed to cut NFL-DUI’s by 80%+.

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