By now you've seen the disturbing video of Tennessee Titans lineman Albert Haynesworth violently and intentionally stomping on the face and head of helmetless Dallas Cowboy Andre Gurode from Sunday's game. (And if you haven't, it's below.) In the aftermath, Gurode got 30 stitches. And Haynesworth should get sued. At least, so says a Dallas attorney--and NFL precedent.
"That incident wasn't football, it was criminal," says Bill Price, former district attorney for Navarro County who now runs a private practice in Dallas. "At the very least, it should be prosecuted as simple assault. In Texas, it could easily be classified as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Football players can normally expect to get the crap knocked out of them. But as for getting kicked in the face by a player clearly exhibiting an intent to harm, I've never seen anything like it."
The NFL has, sort of. In 1973 Cincinnati Bengals running back Boobie Clark delivered an after-the-whistle, away-from-the-play cheap shot to Denver Broncos safety Dale Hackbart. Hackbart sufferied fractured C4, 5, 6, and 7 vertebrae on his neck, an injury that ended his career. Hackbart filed a lawsuit over the incident. Hackbart v. the Cincinnati Bengals became a precedent-setting case.
After initially losing, Hackbart won a settlement after an appeals court ruled that in a professional football game, an intentional infliction of an injury by one player on another is grounds for a lawsuit. In an ever-softening league that now protects quarterbacks from hits to the head and hits below the waist, new commissioner Roger Goodell needs to ring in his reign by taking a tough stance against Haynesworth's senseless violence with a fine and a suspension. --Richie Whitt
Bonus Video: Albert Haynesworth Stomps on Cowboys Center Andre Gurode
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