In a move that could not only totally derail the Steelers 2010 season, but also should send a message to the rest of the league, Roger Goodell handed down a six-game suspension on Ben Roethlisberger today. The move comes from the QB’s conduct where he was accused of sexual assault the past two offseasons.
Goodell suspended Roethlisberger for what he terms a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
“The Personal Conduct Policy makes clear that I may impose discipline ‘even where the conduct does not result in conviction of a crime’ as, for example, where the conduct ‘imposes inherent danger to the safety and well being of another person’,” Goodell wrote. “As the District Attorney concluded, the extensive investigatory record shows that you contributed to the irresponsible consumption of alcohol by purchasing (or facilitating the purchase of) alcoholic beverages for underage college students, at least some of whom were likely already intoxicated. There is no question that the excessive consumption of alcohol that evening put the students and yourself at risk. The Personal Conduct Policy also states that discipline is appropriate for conduct that ‘undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL players.’ By any measure, your conduct satisfies that standard.”
Roethlisberger was not charged with a crime, but the backlash has already been severe for the two-time Super Bowl winning QB. Fans in Pittsburgh have turned on the QB, and many are all for the Rooney family moving him to another club. Word is the Steelers are talking to teams in the top 10 about a first-round draft pick for the QB.
Goodell could reduce the suspension to four games if Roethlisberger meets all of the conditions attached to his punishment. The suspension starts asap, meaning that the QB is not allowed to take part in any more offseason workouts.
The commish did say Roethlisberger would be allowed to attend training camp, which starts in late July, only if Goodell gets confirmation from “evaluating professionals” that Roethlisberger is ready to continue football-related activities.