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NFL veteran and former Vol Donte Stallworth’s storied career has taken a new turn as the Huffington Post has hired the ex-wide receiver to cover national security.
The online news site’s Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim said in a statement that , “Donte has a quick mind, an insatiable curiosity and a passion for politics — the necessary qualities of a great journalist.”
However, other media outlets and social media users condemned the hiring today, calling Stallworth a “9/11 truther” for tweets he posted in 2009 claiming there was no confirmed evidence that Osama Bin Laden was connected to the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Stallworth clarified his position on Twitter today, saying, “Just to be clear, I no longer feel the way I did in that tweet 5 years ago.”
Stallworth, 33, majored in psychology at the University of Tennessee and had 1,747 reception yards playing for the Vols. The native of Sacramento, Calif., was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2002, where he played until 2005. He went on to one-season stints with the Philadelphia Eagles (2006), the New England Patriots (2007) and the Cleveland Browns (2008).
He was suspended by the NFL in 2009, convicted on DUI manslaughter charges for striking and killing a pedestrian in Miami Beach. He returned to football in 2010, playing for the Baltimore Ravens, then the Washington Redskins in 2011 and back with the Patriots in 2012.
Stallworth was in the news again in 2013 when a hot air balloon carrying him crashed into power lines in South Florida. Stallworth received burns in the accident.
Politico.com writer Ben White was especially critical of Stallworth’s new writing gig, tweeting, “The Donte Stallworth hiring by HuffPo is one of the stupidest media stunts I’ve seen in a while. Embarrassing. … Let’s see, here’s one. He killed a guy and doesn’t think a plane hit the Pentagon on 9/11. … Hire that man!”
Stallworth’s hiring coincides with tonight’s kickoff of the NFL season.