Miami Dolphins running back released from team following domestic violence arrest
In this Sept. 8, 2019, file photo, Miami Dolphins running back Mark Walton (22) warms up before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Dolphins have released troubled running back Mark Walton, saying he had been involved in an unspecified police matter. Tuesday’s, Nov. 19, 2019, announcement came as the second-year player served a four-game suspension for violating NFL conduct and substance abuse policies. | Brynn Anderson/AP

The fact that the Miami Dolphins are the worst team in the NFL is an ostensible truth; is there anyone out there who would dispute it?

The team is the first to lose each of their first four games by 20 or more points, and they’re the only team to allow more than 40 points per game the first month into the new season.

They are fourth in the AFC East, going 2-8, and this year’s team is on track to beat the Dolphins’ worst year, 1967.

It can’t get worse, right? Of course, it can.

The Dolphins suspended their 22-year-old running back Mark Walton Tuesday, hours after he was arrested on charges of domestic assault; punching his pregnant girlfriend repeatedly in the head.

Police of Fort Lauderdale suburb Davie said officers responded to a call at 4:15 a.m. Tuesday, where Walton’s girlfriend told them he had pushed her against the wall, punched her several times in the face and head, leaving her with a swollen left eye.

She continued by telling officers she is five weeks pregnant and had told Walton about the pregnancy Sunday.

Walton was charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant person, a felony with a 15-year maximum sentence. This marks his fourth arrest in less than a year.

The Dolphins announced Walton’s release from the team less than seven hours after his arrest. The second-year footballer had already served two games of a four-game suspension for violating NFL conduct and substance abuse policies following three arrests last offseason in Miami.

“We were made aware of a police matter earlier this morning regarding Mark Walton. We hold our players to a high standard and take these matters very seriously. We will have no further comment at this time,” General Manager Chris Grier said in a statement.

A Florida court sentenced Walton to six months’ probation in August after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor weapons charge. Other charges, including marijuana possession and reckless driving, were dismissed.

Walton would have been eligible to return to the field Dec. 2.

The team signed Walton in May, one month after he was cut by the Cincinnati Bengals for his earlier arrests, and in seven games with the Dolphins this season, Walton rushed 53 times for 201 yards, and an average of 3.8 yards per carry. He also had 15 receptions for 89 yards total.

The Bengals had drafted Walton in the fourth round of the 2017 draft out of Miami. And a high schooler, Walton starred at Miami powerhouse Booker T. Washington.

Walton’s defense attorney, Michael A. Gottlieb, declined to comment, and his agents at First Round Management, did not return calls to reporters seeking comment.


CONTRIBUTOR

Al Neal
Al Neal

Al Neal is a human-interest columnist and photographer for People’s World writing on politics, labor, the general ruckus in professional sports, and everything in between. He spent a decade working in the trade union movement with various locals across the country and currently serves as Dir. of Education and Advocacy for the St. Louis Workers’ Education Society.

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