Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is scheduled to meet with league commissioner Roger Goodell later this week to discuss the possibility of reducing his six game suspension to four.
And if you have been living under a rock this off season, Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault in a Georgia bathroom a few months back and the Super Bowl winning quarterback also was accused of buying alcoholic drinks for underage college women. And the whole scenario is exactly what Roger Goodell and the NFL is attempting to avoid considering Roethlisberger is supposed to be one of the faces of the league and the alleged act is obviously damaging to the reputation of the NFL.
And the potential reduction is one of those classic two sided debates that is hard to take a side on. On one hand you have a guy that was not convicted of any crime and received no legal punishment for his alleged actions. Many would argue that the Steelers QB should receive no punishment at all because he received no punishment from the Georgia police that handled the case.
But on the other hand you have a guy that was rumored to be belligerent and out of control on the night of the alleged crime and several shady acts followed the incident in order to apparently cover up what really happened. A surveillance videotape was reportedly erased or destroyed by Roethlisberger’s security team (two off-duty police officers that have been seriously reprimanded for their involvement in the incident) and several bar patrons have also testified claiming that Roethlisberger had exposed himself earlier in the night.
I think a four to six game punishment at a minimum is not unfair by any stretch of the imagination and Roethlisberger should be happy that he isn’t in any more serious trouble then that. But on the other hand several other NFL players have acted out in public this off-season and were caught red handed committing their seperate crimes. Cedric Benson started a bar brawl in Texas and punched multiple men in the face along with making racists remarks to the bar‘s bouncers, Vince Young attacked a man in a strip club nearly the same week and was caught violently striking the victim on tape, and Michael Vick was involved in an altercation at a nightclub that indirectly ended with a former dog fighting ring leader ending up being shot.
In other words there are plenty of other players who have committed terrible acts this summer, but none may have the same name power as Roethlisberger.
Regardless of these other men it doesn’t erase what the Berger may of or may not have done. In short all these people deserved to be suspended for their actions (especially Vick), but Roethlisberger shouldn’t get off the hook just because he wasn’t convicted. He did put himself in this position to be taken down and six games isn‘t so terrible when you have a guaranteed $100 million dollar contract.
Rather then trying to negotiate a smaller NFL suspension, the Berger should thank Goodell for not suspending him even longer.