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Wide Receiver Turned Foreign Policy Wonk? Donté Stallworth's Second Act

Known for an injury-plagued NFL career and a DUI that left a man dead, Stallworth is reinventing himself one tweet at a time.

| Fri Jan. 31, 2014 6:00 AM EST

MJ: And what happened after Obama's election?

DS: You know, I've never thought that I would see any man of color, not just a black president, but any man of color, I never thought that I would live to see that. I thought maybe my grandchildren would, but I never thought I would. So when he first started to run I was like, "I've never heard of this guy—he probably doesn't have a shot." But then he started picking up steam and that piqued my interest. Now I gotta figure out who this guy is. Looking in his background and seeing where he came from, it was a pretty interesting story.

So I think all of that really made me to what I am today, which really springs my attitude toward foreign policy was through 9/11, the Patriot Act, the FISA/warrantless wiretapping, Gitmo, kidnapping, extrajudicial killings, all that. I just started researching. What other countries have the capability to do this? And what kind of precedent are we setting with other countries when they have the capabilities that we have?

Once I started I couldn't stop because there was always something else. Once I thought I had the hang of it then there was another branch that I got branched off to; it's a never-ending, nonstop journey of knowledge. It hasn't stopped since then. I have a lot of friends that laugh at me and make fun of me because I'm so into politics. If there's ever something on, they'll tweet me or call or text and say, "Hey what's this about?" and I'm like, "Yeah, you guys were laughing at me like three, four years ago and now you want to know."

MJ: Some of your tweets are pretty controversial. How do people react to this stuff when you're on Twitter?

DS: For the most part it's positive. I get a lot of people that are thanking me for speaking out about certain issues. I get people telling me, "If you don't like it here, then there's plenty of other countries to go to," which is hilarious to me. I don't take anything personal.

A lot of people are blinded by their love for this country. Anyone that knows me will tell you that any time we're going somewhere, if there's a US flag, they'll always point it out because they know I love it. Just how our whole country started and just the migration of Europeans to this country, all of that, just the history of everything has fascinated me, but my biggest thing is I want people to understand that when there are hostilities between nations there's always two sides.

"I think that we do have a great country, but there's a lot of things that we're not so great at. Unfortunately, education is one of them."

When you only get one side of the story, you're pretty much brainwashed to the facts of the whole situation. So I think that we do have a great country, but there's a lot of things that we're not so great at. Unfortunately, education is one of them.

MJ: I'm sure you've heard worse, especially about your DUI and the death of Mario Reyes. How did the accident change you?

DS: I think whenever you go through something of that nature, you get to see who's really on your side and who's really there for you. That happened in my case. And it really let me understand that no matter how small of a decision you make, it's going to have a subsequent action or reaction, and something that started out very innocent turned into the tragedy that it was. I have a lot of guys I know that are in the NBA, MLB, even other entertainers came up to me and told me that my situation had really made an impact on them.

Especially for the people that knew me. They just saw how everything could change within a matter of seconds. I think most importantly it made me aware of every little decision that I make. Something that can start off innocent can end the way mine did, and obviously it was good for no one.

MJ: As fans, we just assume that professional athletes can hire drivers or take the team up on hired drivers. Can you speak to that?

DS: It's a good question. I'm not really sure. I know there a lot of responsible guys. I've been on many teams and there are a lot of guys that know that after the game is when guys usually go out that night, Sunday night, and there's a lot of guys that are very responsible that know they're going to have drinks that night and they'll rent a limo or a car. But then there's some people that don't do that, that maybe don't plan on drinking when they get there and then have some drinks and things get out of hand.

That's an issue and it shouldn't be. It really shouldn't be. I think I can hopefully have a positive effect on a lot of guys. I think it's important for me to get out and talk to not only NFL players but people all over, man. I mean people take for granted so much. You have one or two drinks and you're legally over the limit. Too many bad things can happen when you drive while intoxicated.

MJ: So what are you up to these days, now that you're not playing pro ball? What's the daily routine like?

DS: I get up in the morning and go train with my same trainer that I've been using for about four years now. Then I leave the gym, go home, shower, pick up some articles. A lot of articles that will come across my Twitter feed. Something's always going on on Twitter and obviously throughout the whole world. I pick about four or five articles that I'll read. From there it's pretty much open.

There's a youth center out here, it's called Overtown Youth Center. It's Alonzo Mourning's youth center, who's a really good friend of mine. He's like a big brother to me. I've been over there in the past and have been spending some time with the kids. It's a neighborhood where kids need to be interactive with some responsible adults, and give them something to do after school.

I always hear people saying, "If I can just help one person, or if I can just stop one person from doing what I did." I don't think one person is enough. I feel you can help more than one person, help as many as you can. That's something that I would like to leave as my legacy: That I helped a lot of people and made some people make better decisions after looking at the decisions I've made in my life.

MJ: So are you ready to hang it up?

"I'm not going to be the guy to be 36, 37 years old still trying to hang on and play in the NFL."

DS: If I do not play another down, in my 10 years I've been blessed to pretty much come out virtually unscathed of any major injuries, so I think I would be content with that. To me probably the biggest disappointments, as far as a football career goes, is I feel like I didn't live up to my potential, and I didn't win a Super Bowl ring. I came very, very close in 2008, losing to the Giants when I was with the Patriots.

I'm not going to be the guy to be 36, 37 years old still trying to hang on and play in the NFL. I'll be 33 in a couple weeks, and there's a million things I want to do with my life before my time is up, which is hopefully 40, 50 years down the line from now at least. So I'd definitely be content. If I never played another down I'd be content with that and pursue some more of my passions.

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