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Haynesworth Apologizes, Will Not Appeal:

ESPN reports that Albert Haynesworth personally apologized to Andre Gurode over the phone for stomping on Gurode's face during Sunday's game between the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys. Further, Haynesworth says he accepts his punishment and will not appeal the five game suspension -- a suspension that will cost him close to $200,000 in lost salary. The NFL Players Association wanted to appeal the suspension, which is more than double the longest suspension ever for on-field conduct (two-games for throwing a quarterback onto the ground after the play ended), but such an appeal would seem to be difficult without Haynesworth's support.

There is still no word on whether Haynesworth could face additional penalties in court. Gurode is still weighing whether to press criminal charges or file a civil suit against Haynesworth. I suspect the latter decision will depend, in part, on the extent of the damage Gurode suffered. As of this morning, the press reported Gurode is still suffering from blurred vision.

footballfan1:
That is the way it should work. Do the crime, do the time. Not that he should be lauded for accepting his fate, after basically kicking a man in the face, but in today's world, where sports figures, celebrities, and politicians blame their actions on a host of things (alcohol, drugs, depression), it's refreshing to see someone own up to their own conduct. Don't even get me started on the players union. How can an organization that represents players making millions of dollars a year expect the public to be sympathetic that the minimum salary (probably around $500,000/yr) is too little for these players to make.


That being said, if the player ruined the career of another for an intentional act, he should be banned for such time as the other player is able to successfully return to the game of football. Commend his apology, but his act may have permanently injured a man, and because of that, he should have to forfeit his right to play until the other player can return.
10.4.2006 3:15pm
PabloF:
While Haynesworth's behavior was reprehensible, it is nice to see a professional athlete recognize what he did was wrong, apologize, make no excuses, and accept the punishment meted out to him by the NFL.

It will be interesting to see if the Players Association goes forward with an appeal anyway.
10.4.2006 3:17pm
SteveW:
Why does a prosecutor need to wait for Gurode to press charges?
10.4.2006 3:25pm
Alex R:
I suppose it's good that Haynesworth is apologizing and agreeing to accept his suspension, but am I the only one that thinks that the fact that "Gurode is still weighing whether to press criminal charges or file a civil suit against Haynesworth" might have something to do with this?
10.4.2006 3:28pm
Mr. X (www):
Why does a prosecutor need to wait for Gurode to press charges?


The prosecutor doesn't need to wait, but it's a lot harder to prosecute a case if you have no complaining witness to testify.
10.4.2006 3:31pm
Hattio (mail):
Just a thought, if Gurode is seriously injured and unable to play for quite some time, wouldn't he want Haynesworth to return to play sooner rather than later. Something tells me that Haynesworth's job prospects outside of the NFL are not that great. I would think if I couldn't earn NFL money, I'd want the guy I'm going to be suing making NFL money so I could actually collect NFL money...not McDonald's money.
10.4.2006 3:33pm
18 USC 1030 (mail):
Doesn't the Player's Association also represent Gurode? Wouldn't it be in the best interest of all players to make an example out of this act? This isn't a player being suspended for something stupid (e.g., celebrating after a play, an uniform malfunction, etc). This is punishing a player for maliciously attacking a fellow player. Shouldn't the union protect the collective interests (all the players) rather than the individual interest (one player)?
10.4.2006 3:34pm
Steve:
Any civil suit ought to include the steroid supplier as a co-defendant. Or does anyone believe there was no roid rage involved in this incident?
10.4.2006 3:35pm
DK:
Reports are also coming out that Haynesworth has a history of committing unprovoked, cruel acts of violence (beyond the scope of ordinary football play). There was an incident in practice in 2003 when he kicked another player on his own team in the chest.
10.4.2006 3:36pm
BobH (mail):
My vision has been blurred since I was about 8 years old. Can I press charges against anyone?
10.4.2006 3:37pm
Arbusto Spectrum (mail):

am I the only one that thinks that the fact that "Gurode is still weighing whether to press criminal charges or file a civil suit against Haynesworth" might have something to do with this?


Haynesworth expressed contrition immediately after the game:

"What I did was disgusting," Haynesworth said. "It's something that should never happen. I mean I'm not a dirty player. I don't play dirty. I have respect for the game. What I feel like is I disgraced the game, disgraced my team and disgraced my last name."
10.4.2006 4:03pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I say prosecute away and if he's convicted don't let him out to play football until his entire sentence is served. No "work release" so that he can play in games and only have to sit in the pokey when it's convenient for him.

BTW: does anyone else think it's weak to phone in an apology after an assault like this? He should have been man enough to apologize and look the other player in the face (thirty stitches and all) and take responsibility for what he has done.
10.4.2006 4:13pm
WHOI Jacket:
BobH, unless you got it from having your face kicked, then no.
10.4.2006 4:24pm
whit:
"Any civil suit ought to include the steroid supplier as a co-defendant. Or does anyone believe there was no roid rage involved in this incident?"

lol. this is what i would expect from a lawyer (no offense).

People are responsible for their actions. If athletes choose to take steroids (AAS), they are responsible for monitoring their behavior afterwards. Contrary to the layperson's impression of AAS as causing "roid rage", the actual CLINICAL DATA for so called roid rage is exceptionally thin. Yes, certain highly androgenic AAS - methyltestosterone comes to mind - can increase aggression but they do not tell people what to do.

This is exactly the sort of twinkie defense absurdity that gives lawyers a bad name. It's also consistent with a completely non-scientific understanding of hormones - most likely influenced by mass media.
10.4.2006 4:37pm
Joshua:
Hattio: Just a thought, if Gurode is seriously injured and unable to play for quite some time, wouldn't he want Haynesworth to return to play sooner rather than later. Something tells me that Haynesworth's job prospects outside of the NFL are not that great. I would think if I couldn't earn NFL money, I'd want the guy I'm going to be suing making NFL money so I could actually collect NFL money...not McDonald's money.

Would this injury fall under worker's comp laws? A few years ago a player from the Browns got hit in the eye by a thrown penalty flag, and that injury wound up being covered by worker's comp. The whole idea of worker's comp is to avoid litigation, so I'm not sure if Gurode would even have redress in court if worker's comp applies to this incident.
10.4.2006 4:39pm
byomtov (mail):
Doesn't the Player's Association also represent Gurode? Wouldn't it be in the best interest of all players to make an example out of this act? This isn't a player being suspended for something stupid (e.g., celebrating after a play, an uniform malfunction, etc). This is punishing a player for maliciously attacking a fellow player. Shouldn't the union protect the collective interests (all the players) rather than the individual interest (one player)?

Excellent point. Surely the union should be trying hard to reduce unnecessary injuries, and deter this sort of conduct, which may damage players more than a suspension.
10.4.2006 4:41pm
whit:
Also, steroids are CIII substances. No manufacturer should be responsible in any manner whatsoever for people using their products without a Dr.'s prescription. Generally speaking, legitimate MD's prescribe AAS (primarily depo-testosterone) at MOST up to 500mg a week, and usually 250 mg a week or even 250 mg every other week. Testosterone, which is relatively androgenic (of course, since it is the baseline by which androgenicity is measured in other AAS) has exceptionally mild psychological affects at those levels. For most hypogonadal men who are prescribed these dosages, they find that aggression and anxiety DECREASE (bell shaped response curve, like many other drugs).

It's like blaming the makers of oxycontin for an OD cause some idiot crushes the pill and snorts it (thus eliminating the time release properties).

I know of a case where a kid committed suicide by swallowing a giant bottle of acetaminophen (tylenol) and drinking a 12 pack. Obviously, this is the fault of anheuser-busch and whomever produces tylenol.

(sarcasm).

But back to "roid rage". It is about as overblown a product of general media hysteria, as "reefer madness" was with marijuana.
10.4.2006 4:43pm
Hattio (mail):
Joshua,
Typically Worker's Compensation only prevents you from suing employees of your own company who injure you. The Haynesworth kick on a teammate in practice reported above in comments (I have no knowledge) would possibly be covered. An act by an employee of another company (opposing team) wouldn't be covered. Also, I don't practice worker's comp, but I would bet there's an exception for intentional acts.
10.4.2006 4:54pm
BobH (mail):
In California, at least (and I'm pretty sure everywhere in the US) there is an exception for intentional acts -- whether by the employer or a co-employee.
10.4.2006 4:57pm
WJ (mail):
Worker's Compensation likely would not prevent a civil suit. If a co-worker or employer intentionally tries to injure another worker then there is no immunity for suit. A few years ago Bill Romanowski beat up a teammate during a practice. The teammate sued him and collected $300,000.00.

If Gurode does sue then it is to his benefit that Haynesworth keeps working. Lamar Smith when he was with Seattle was involved in an accident while driving drunk. A teammate was the passenger and ended up paralyzed. They settled the suit with the terms the teammate would receive 25% of future earnings. Smith had a few good years afterwards. Financially, not morally, it was to the teammate's benefit Smith did not go to prison and erode his peak earning years.
10.4.2006 5:00pm
Pat conolly (mail):
Is this action comparable to the 1977 Kermit Washington - Rudy Tomjanovich affair? From Wikipedia,


Washington, then playing with the Los Angeles Lakers, was suspended for two months, missing 26 games. Tomjanovich, then of the Houston Rockets, missed the entire season. He later won a court judgment against the L.A. Lakers and was awarded $3.2 million, even though the original sum set by Tomjanovich was $2.4 million
10.4.2006 5:10pm
Steve:
This is exactly the sort of twinkie defense absurdity that gives lawyers a bad name.

Uh, I wasn't suggesting it would be a defense. I was suggesting it would be an alternative avenue for recovery by the plaintiff. I think you were in such a hurry to bash lawyers that you didn't read what I actually wrote, or maybe you just didn't know what a "co-defendant" is.

Anyway, my comment was made in a rather off-the-cuff spirit, but the theory is somewhat analogous to the gun manufacturer cases (which I'm not a big fan of, incidentally). Certainly, if I were the plaintiff's lawyer, I'd be remiss not to consider the possibility.
10.4.2006 5:29pm
Brian Garst (www):
Doesn't the Player's Association also represent Gurode? Wouldn't it be in the best interest of all players to make an example out of this act? This isn't a player being suspended for something stupid (e.g., celebrating after a play, an uniform malfunction, etc). This is punishing a player for maliciously attacking a fellow player. Shouldn't the union protect the collective interests (all the players) rather than the individual interest (one player)?

Players unions (in any sport) don't actually exist to protect the interest of players. They exist to protect money. Thus, the prospect of long suspensions (thus big losses of money) becoming precedent is their priority.
10.4.2006 5:37pm
whit:
Steve, my points are this

1) "roid rage" is largely a media inspired myth. for example, in the hearings after the ben jonson stanazolol incident (that precipitated the scheduling of AAS) *both* the AMA and the DEA testified AGAINST making AAS controlled substances. "roid rage" was among the mythologies created (largely after scheduling) ex-post facto, to "justify it". reminds me of the absurd AER's during the congressional ephedra scare. (congress later overturned by an appeals court as violating DSHEA)

2) why would u sue a manufacturer for MISUSE of a CIII substance? there is NO way that anything but an exceptionally supraphysiological dose of any legitimate AAS could result in so called "roid rage". these are not prescribable dosages. a manufacturer of said substance should be nore liable for damages (even assuming so called roid rage was present) than a manufafacturer of HumulinR would be responsible for a death from overdose. AAS have no LD50, whereas humulin R (an OTC insulin) is something that can easily kill you in one dose.

Like i said, people are responsible for their own actions. It is not twinkie's fault, it is not ozzie osbourne's fault (that the kid committed suicide), etc.

and again, with an understanding of the mythology surrounding roid rage, i think you would not be prone to the statement you made. you made it seem that it was inevitable that "roid rage" was a contributory factor.

where is the evidence? cause he's a football player. and all football players use AAS in supraphyisological doses. and those doses necessarily cause roid rage. thus, the AAS were to blame. QED. not the player.

that doesn't fly
10.4.2006 5:44pm
Tom R (mail):
This one's the inclement Haynesworth...?
10.4.2006 8:01pm
JB:
Agreed that the actions of the Players' Association are bizarre. The suspension should be as long as Gurode's recovery period, tacked on AFTER a standard prison sentence for assault.
10.4.2006 8:51pm
Ahmed (mail):
Haynesworth ought not be prosecuted. The fact is that this case would cost Nashville a lot of money and probably result in some sort of probation anyway.

Haynesworth deserves jail and public outrage, but it's not very practical considering all the other criminals that could be dealt with using the same funds. He should be expelled from the sport forever, of course.
10.4.2006 10:54pm
byomtov (mail):
Players unions (in any sport) don't actually exist to protect the interest of players. They exist to protect money.

Whose money? The players', I assume. Serious injuries shorten careers and reduce players' earnings over time.
10.5.2006 11:36am