If Roethlisberger skates, Goodell will face a race debate

Ben Roethlisberger read a statement Monday, giving a generic apology for his behavior.

Ben Roethlisberger read a statement Monday, giving a generic apology for his behavior.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has shown little tolerance for players who don’t walk the line like good little clones. So I’m going to assume he will treat the NFL’s latest “suspected” felon the same way as he has others. Otherwise, he’s setting himself up for a mini race riot.

Ben Roethlisberger is innocent of sexual assault. Or, I should say, the district attorney in Milledgeville announced he won’t bring charges because he doesn’t believe he can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. (Often in cases like this, the alleged victim also was drinking so it makes things difficult to prove. And sometimes, the alleged victim also gets an envelope full of cash to suddenly not cooperate with police. I’m not saying that’s what happened. I’m just saying that happens.)

Back to Goodell. He has suspended players in the past who were arrested but not convicted of crimes. Most notable on the list: Adam “Pacman” Jones and

Unfortunately, this is one of the faces of the NFL.

Unfortunately, this is one of the faces of the NFL.

Chris Henry. You’ll recall that he also told Michael Vick not to report to Falcons training camp, even while Vick was denying guilt and long before he pled to dog-fighting charges.

Jones, Henry and Vick all are African American. Roethlisberger is white.

I understand the arguments on both sides of the suspension debate.

♦ For suspension: The NFL is like any other employer. The “conduct detrimental to the league” excuse works for any company that wishes to fire or suspend an employee who is prone to excessive knuckleheadedness.

♦ Against suspension: If a man isn’t convicted of a crime, the NFL has no right to punish him.

The problem here is that Goodell already has set precedent. He can’t go back now. There is enough circumstantial evidence of Roethlisberger excessively imbibing. There are now at least two cases where a woman has brought sex assault allegations against him (he faces a civil suit stemming from an alleged incident in Lake Tahoe, Nev., in 2008).

As a Super Bowl winning quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Roethlisberger is making both the NFL and one of its centerpiece franchises look bad. For Goodell, this should be am easy call.

When Goodell suspended Jones and Henry in 2007, he sent letters to the two players that read in part: “Your conduct has brought embarrassment and ridicule upon yourself, your club, and the NFL, and has damaged the reputation of players throughout the league. You have put in jeopardy an otherwise promising NFL career, and have risked both your own safety and the safety of others through your off-field actions. In each of these respects, you have engaged in conduct detrimental to the NFL and failed to live up to the standards expected of NFL players. Taken as a whole, this conduct warrants significant sanction.”

Is there any difference in this case?

291 comments Add your comment

Intellibird

April 13th, 2010
7:44 pm

First time, first. Nope, no difference. Suspend him as long as he thinks is necessary. Whole season wouldn’t bother me. Go Falcons!

FalconsFan284

April 13th, 2010
7:48 pm

The young lady in the second photo is HOT!!!!

mike

April 13th, 2010
7:52 pm

falcondawg

April 13th, 2010
7:53 pm

Roethlisberge conduct is worthy of a suspension. He just doen’t seem to “get it’. I think 4 games is about right. If no suspension is forthcoming it will be rightfully questioned was it due to the fact that he is white.

mike

April 13th, 2010
7:53 pm

Agreed. She is hot.

devildog

April 13th, 2010
7:58 pm

Ben needs to be suspended. Given his track record of two sexual assults he needs to be suspended for at least half of the season. How many players that were African American were suspended for being accused of less.

povox

April 13th, 2010
8:01 pm

Send Ben home for a few. Start the brunette in the second pic!

Aaron

April 13th, 2010
8:01 pm

Falcondawg, I disagree. There is no way Goodell is thinking to himself, “since Ben is white, there is no way I am going to suspend him.” If he does not get suspended it is not just because he is white. Why say something like that? The black people he suspended all did something very wrong and were found guilty. Ben was not. In the end, I am sure he will suspend him for two games just so he does not have to hear it from the “reverend” Jesse Jackson because you know he, and good ole Sharpton, would be all over them as they are any chance they get. Also, the chick in the pic is hot but her nose looks odd.

SteelScorpio

April 13th, 2010
8:02 pm

There are three differnet phases: “Accused” of a crime, then “Charged” with a crime, then “Convicted” of a crime.

Ben has only ever been “accused”.

Everyone else who has recieved a suspension at the least has been “Charged”.

I can make accusations all day long, but until there is evidence stemming from those accusations to warrant a “charge”, then the accusations must be concluded to be baseless.

Aaron

April 13th, 2010
8:03 pm

Devildog what your black people did was a lot worse and even involved weapons. That was all proven. What if this chick involved with Ben is full of crap? We will never know.

George

April 13th, 2010
8:10 pm

It still takes two to tango. Yes, the guys are usually the more aggressive sex. But not unlike the Tiger Woods situation, there was a woman (many of them actually) involved. What’s a rich, attractive, famous guy to do when these women throw themselves at you? Temptation is a gun.

Russ4Heisman.net

April 13th, 2010
8:15 pm

And how dumb does ESPN now look for refusing to report the first sexual assault allegation?

L.Luciano

April 13th, 2010
8:15 pm

Ben needs to be saddled w/ a 4 game suspension. And right now.
And if the Tahoe thing doesn’t play out in his favor (like the GA fiasco most certainly did – and for the reasons you alluded to), a one year suspension or more is in order – but in either case it’d be to the benefit of the league and the franchise if the suspension(s) came from the Steelers. It seems that 30-40% of sports headlines these days are related to legal and/ or moral issues. Sports pages have become more like the National Enquirer – giving ink to stupidity, not talent; displaying photos of
failings as opposed to trophies. Black or white doesn’t matter. It’s all gotta change.

UGA Mumm-Ra

April 13th, 2010
8:16 pm

Suspending Roethlisberger to avoid a race debate is no reason to suspend him. Having said that, Roethlisberger deserves to be suspended. The first line you referenced from the 2007 letter (Your conduct has brought embarrassment and ridicule upon yourself, your club, and the NFL, and has damaged the reputation of players throughout the league) could easily be written to Roethlisberger. He should not be suspended to avoid a race debate. He should be suspended because he’s an idiot, and his actions warrant suspension.

getitstraight

April 13th, 2010
8:18 pm

Aaron, first, if we are going to have a reasoned debate, let’s stop with the “your black people” quotes. I guess only “my black people” fight in clubs and fight dogs!!! Those black people were U.S. citizens just like Big Ben. Second, lets stop comparing crimes when they all were of a horrendus nature. Being accused of sexual assault twice in two years is awful and embarrassing for the league. If one was to read the letter Mr. Shultz provided above, everything that has occurred sticks to Big Ben like glue. A precedent has been sent. The NFL is a business. What if you owned or had a share in this business. Could you honestly look your other employees in the eye and keep an alleged rapist on your staff. What say you?

Aaron

April 13th, 2010
8:20 pm

Patriotssuckwanky – Typical loser from the northeast. I also bet he is about 15 years old. Poor little boy.

falcondawg

April 13th, 2010
8:23 pm

Aaron, I don’t remember anybody in the NFL that has recently been accused of sexually assaulting two women. It is starting to look like a trend if you ask me. The NFL has a “personl conduct policy” . That means that the commisioner has the right to suspend a player if his conduct is detrimental to the league. I think that Big Ben’s conduct falls into this category. I am curious as to what you think of Kobe’s “situation” a few years back?

catsFly

April 13th, 2010
8:23 pm

Looks like there are plenty of scum among the superstar sports figures. You can apply this moniker to whomever you feel has deserved it. Vick, Packman, Tiger, Ben. I couldn’t argue with you.

Oh Really?

April 13th, 2010
8:24 pm

Little (brain) Ben supposedly admitted during questioning that he and his ‘entourage’ bought shots for the underage girls, but the D.A. said that he will not prosecute those misdemeanor charges since the victim just wants it all to end. Based on his admitted guilt to furnishing alcohol to underage girls, that alone is worth a suspension in light of the ‘unprovable’ charges. An almost 30 year old man taking his goons and barhopping with 19 year old girls and getting them drunk so he can do things that later are unprovable. Sounds like you’re a REAL MAN, Big Ben. I think Goodell will think so too.

BMLocal26

April 13th, 2010
8:24 pm

You said players arrested, but not covicted of a crime. Was Big Ben arrested? No. But you are pronouncing him guilty as charged. Believe me, if Baldwin Co. or the State of Ga. had anything on him, there would be a warrant out for him right now. Georgia loves to put people in prison.
Shultz you are the Glenn ‘the weasle’ Beck and Rush Limslob rolled into one, of the AJC sports hacks.

Rheumatism

April 13th, 2010
8:25 pm

PSW… because Ben is one of the best in the league is the reason for the suspension, he is the face of the NFL. And when the NFL is described as a drunk rowdy bunch and not a classy organization is when it ceases to become the NFL and starts to become something like…. well… the NBA. and nobody wants that.

Tim

April 13th, 2010
8:25 pm

Anytime a woman stands to gain a couple mil off a super-star one has to wonder, could she have faked the whole thing? And why not target a guy who already has had another sex charge brought against him? The first (even though it was dropped) would add more weight to the second. Maybe he did it, but maybe he didn’t.

steelerssuck

April 13th, 2010
8:25 pm

send him home so he can get a haircut and shave..dang dirtbag

Aaron

April 13th, 2010
8:26 pm

If Kobe didn’t do it, why did he settle out of court with probably millions? I know if someone accused me of something I did not do, there is no way in hell I would just settle out of court and pay them. I would prove my innocents.

Yunel Asscobar

April 13th, 2010
8:37 pm

Jeff – good piece and though a real stunner in pic #2, Ben is an embarasment to the NFL and should be suspended. On another topic, since Wren is obviously playing out of position and overmatched as Braves GM, is there a way the league could suspend him as well? GManagerial malpractice?

elviskl

April 13th, 2010
8:39 pm

LOT OF DIFF BETWEEN A CONVICTED DOG THUG KILLER AND SOMEONE NOT EVEN CHARGED…….BY THE WAY, WHERE IS THE DOG KILLER AND ALL HIS ATLANTA FANS THAT WERE AT THE PILLY GAME IN ATL?

L.Luciano

April 13th, 2010
8:42 pm

I stand that the apparently “Not So Gene Ben” needs a suspension but I’ve yet see / hear one pundit mention that the police report indicated a white male w/ Bens exact ht. /wt as it’s shown on his Steelers Profile page. anyone?

WreckinBall

April 13th, 2010
8:47 pm

Shultz you’re an agitator.
But, the NFL should definitely suspend Big Ben, for the game the Steelers play against the Falcons, in 2010 anyway.

Carrot Top

April 13th, 2010
8:53 pm

He screwed up big time. Happens to all of us. Doesn’t it?

Carrot Top

April 13th, 2010
8:55 pm

Oh yeah, I work out.

DAWG07

April 13th, 2010
8:55 pm

Concur! Seems like trend in the wrong direction. He is a slow learner.
Have always been a Steeler fan. Would like to see someone at QB.

Carrot Top

April 13th, 2010
8:57 pm

Steelers fans have always taken the short bus.

Carrot Top

April 13th, 2010
8:58 pm

Ask Terry Bradshaw.

SimpleDawg

April 13th, 2010
9:00 pm

I’m not sure what there is more of in these comments…..ignorance or hatred.

Some of you people write like English is your second or third language. Some are in need of professional help. Some of y’all just need a nap.

Another…Beam me up, Scotty.

Carrot Top

April 13th, 2010
9:02 pm

Beam yourself up.

Carrot Top

April 13th, 2010
9:03 pm

I’ve been to Boston, women have mustaches. Didn’t work for me.

crabapplejoe

April 13th, 2010
9:06 pm

Let’s go over the facts one more time: Big Ben has never been arrested or criminally charged with sexual assualt. His “crime” was being a 28 year old single male who was out on the town looking for some action with the ladies (shock and dismay!). I am sure that none of you, while in your twenties, hung out in bars trying to hook up with women…(sarcasm off). The woman had been admitted to a “hot” bar in a college town so the strong presumption by Big Ben and everyone else (doorman, bartender, waitress) was that she was 21+. In all likelihood she had a fake ID (shock and dismay again!) and was telling everyone she was of age. So you have a 28 year old single male hooking up with a woman who is ostensibly 21 years old. What’s all the fuss. And Jeff, I’m shocked that you would play the race card on this case. If Big Ben is suspended it will be because of all the sportswriters and black “fans” beating the drums for “equal treatment” when there is not a similar case out there.

Carrot Top

April 13th, 2010
9:09 pm

There is a reason you have crabs.

Ben ate a Furberger

April 13th, 2010
9:11 pm

Suspend the idiot. This guy is putting himself into bad situations. He’s not a very smart man – ask Forrest Gump.

Carrot Top

April 13th, 2010
9:11 pm

You’d have better luck if you locked up the Latinos.

SlimG

April 13th, 2010
9:12 pm

u dumba$$e$, the girl made up the whole story. Know a few people who were actually at the club. This was a publicity stunt by the capital club. So a young adult parties, who didn’t.

Carrot Top

April 13th, 2010
9:13 pm

Seriously folks, Ben’s problem is two fold, he’s fat and he’s ugly. That combination doesn’t work on anyones menu.

Matt "Choke" Ryan

April 13th, 2010
9:14 pm

He and CHOKE should be sharing a cell, for all the money he stole from the Falcons :)

But seriously, this would not be the first time that there was racial bias in the NFL.

Nothing would surprise me.

Carrot Top

April 13th, 2010
9:16 pm

Are you related to Mike “Choke a puppy” VIck?

Carrot Top

April 13th, 2010
9:20 pm

Lester you’re dead, get over it.

Fan

April 13th, 2010
9:21 pm

Are we sure Terrance Moore didn’t hijack Schultzie’s blog?
Jeff, your deductive logic fails as there is no link between the grouping of the first three, you say black, everyone else including Goddell say all arrested, and Rothlisberger. All arrested = suspension, suspension does not = black. Rothlisberger, while not black, was also not arrested. The ‘therefore’ doesn’t hold with the majority of logical thinking readers.

JimC

April 13th, 2010
9:21 pm

At the very least, Roethlisberger should be suspended for several games if Goodell is serious about cleaning up misbehavior. The color of the offender’s skin should absolutely not matter.

Just for the record, in this case, it’s probably a wad of cash and a new police car for the locals. :-(

J B STONER

April 13th, 2010
9:22 pm

CONFEDERATE CITIZENS OF THE SOUTH……..CONVICT THE YANKEE SOB…..FOR BEING HERE TO BEGIN WITH……

Carrot Top

April 13th, 2010
9:22 pm

Fan has a point Jeff.

thunderbull56

April 13th, 2010
9:22 pm

And they moderate me over on DOB’s blogovanniavich.Thanks for the first photo Jeff. Looks like Ben just left the shower with a hangover.Key word;Knucklehead;second key word; Sports! Every,not just some, every pro sports franchise suffers “Rock Star Syndrome”.”Member” the Falcons Super Bowl BJ incident.Why, if it’s good enough for the Commander and Chief, it’s good enough fo me by god! Nowhere is there a double standard exercised like there is in sports.Kobe,Tiger,Ben,Micheal,Chipper.Sorry Chip, couldn’t resist.Keeps you guys employed between innings,quarters,halves.