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April 21, 2010

NFL Suspends Roethlisberger for Six Games: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be suspended for six games and must undergo "comprehensive behavioral counseling," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday. The suspension could be dropped to four games pending a review. "There is nothing about your conduct in Milledgeville that can remotely be described as admirable, responsible or consistent with either the values of the league or the expectations of our fans," Goodell told him in a statement.

posted by rcade to football at 02:23 PM - 47 comments

I really appreciate what Goodell has done to crack done on misbehavior among NFL players. I have also been pleasantly surprised with Steelers fans who have been critical of Roethlisberger as well.

posted by bperk at 02:53 PM on April 21

Good on the commish. I hope he has to serve the whole suspension and not some watered down one. I am still hoping the Steelers trade the sleezebag.

posted by scully at 02:56 PM on April 21

I hope the Steelers can find a good package on Thursday and trade him. I know he is better then what we have, but Denis Dixon did not look to bad last year and has the mobility to survive behind that o-line. Let us not forget if he had not been hurt, Tim Tebow may have 0 heisman trophys and one less National Championship, Dixon was leading that race till the knee injury.

posted by Debo270 at 02:58 PM on April 21

I think the commish and the powers that be in Pittsburgh realize that there is more going on here than an unfounded complaint. Big Ben is running out of favors from his fairy god-parents. Personally I hope that Leftwich kicks some a$$ and there will be some controversy about his return.

posted by Tinman at 03:21 PM on April 21

Big Ben will lose 1.9 to 2.8 million due to the suspension. I sure hope he enjoyed his few minutes with that girl, because she was expensive. And who knows how much more he may have given her for her latest silence.It would have been better if he was suspended for the whole year. He definitely needs counseling.

posted by Doehead at 04:24 PM on April 21

I hope that Leftwich kicks some a$$ and there will be some controversy about his return.

I'd start counting the days until Ben gets back right now if Leftwich is what the Steelers are stuck with.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:29 PM on April 21

I'd be surprised if Leftwich beat out Dixon for the job. Dixon played pretty well in Baltimore, except for a mistake in OT. Leftwich is a statue.

posted by bperk at 04:59 PM on April 21

I'd start counting the days until Ben gets back right now if Leftwich is what the Steelers are stuck with.

Leftwich/Dixon/Batch. Sounds a lot like the Kordell/Brister/Tomzack/Graham/Malone days. And fans are willing to trade Ben and go back to that model again? Guess they don't mind going 30 years between SB rings.

I have no idea about the charges. I know the first charges were obviously bogus, but I have no idea about the truth on these recent charges (They're certainly more believable than the Nevada one) I do believe Ben is an ass, and his ego and whining drive me nuts some times...regardless, I won't go back to supporting a QB less team again. I did it for 30 years, foolishly...and if they now trade away the one decent QB they've had, then I won't go back along for that ride. Especially when they turn their head on so many other things (Davenport and his B&E, Harrison hitting a woman, franchising a repeated drunk & disorderly kicker, Ernie Holmes shooting at police helicopters, etc.) Honorable franchise, my ass. They cut Santonio only because he had 1 year left on his contract, couldn't resign him, and would only get 14 games out him. They choose where to make their stands just like every other franchise.

posted by bdaddy at 05:05 PM on April 21

I still say that's an awful harsh penalty for something which has never been substantiated. So at what point to football fans start making up claims about players just to see if they can get them suspended?

Joe (Jets fan): Tom Brady just punched me at a bar! John (Dolphins fan): You're kidding, he tried to run me over in a parking lot Goodell: Tom Brady has been suspended today

posted by bdaddy at 05:06 PM on April 21

Dixon played pretty well in Baltimore

I watched a different game. Dixon had a decent HALF...that 2nd half he was missing 5 yard out routes by 20 feet.

posted by bdaddy at 05:07 PM on April 21

Denis Dixon did not look to bad last year and has the mobility to survive behind that o-line. Let us not forget if he had not been hurt, Tim Tebow may have 0 heisman trophys and one less National Championship, Dixon was leading that race till the knee injury.

I thought Dixon would have led Oregon to a national championship too. Does that translate into NFL success? I don't know. But he was a helluva college QB.

And fans are willing to trade Ben and go back to that model again?

Good for Steeler fans. I wouldn't want a serial rapist to be my QB either.

posted by cjets at 05:32 PM on April 21

I still say that's an awful harsh penalty for something which has never been substantiated.

The suspension isn't for being a rapist--I'm pretty sure that would involve something more severe. The suspension is for violating the league's conduct policy. That would involve being out with a posse drinking with and buying drinks for underage girls, doing things to hurt the league's reputation, and generally acting like an asshat. It's meant to convey the message to Ben that Goodell and the league expect behavior more appropriate and professional.

I know the first charges were obviously bogus

How? Especially in light of other accusations? I agree that facially, they seem iffy, but I don't think anybody knows anything except for Ben and his accuser.

posted by tahoemoj at 05:41 PM on April 21

There seems to be a lot more to this than what is public knowledge in my opinion. Clearly there was DNA and a mysteriously vanishing video, not to mention the other civil complaint against him. The reason the DA did not pursue the case, is that the victim is not interested in pressing the matter further in a courtroom. It smells like pay off but in any case the league has enough information regarding the behavior of Ben Rothlisberger who now has had multiple accusations against him that they feel justified to hand down some harsh punnishment. The Steelers will not fight this as they also know something has to be done. They do care about their image.

posted by Atheist at 06:06 PM on April 21

I think Sister Mary Elefant should whack his pee pee.

posted by irunfromclones at 06:21 PM on April 21

I still say that's an awful harsh penalty for something which has never been substantiated.

The stuff that's not in dispute -- he bought drinks at a bar for college girls who could not legally drink and had sex with one of them while his bodyguards kept her friends from intervening -- is damning enough to merit a suspension. The league's conduct policy is broad enough that any player who embarrasses the league could be hit with it.

posted by rcade at 06:36 PM on April 21

Sorry rcade but (The stuff that's not in dispute -- he bought drinks at a bar for college girls who could not legally drink and had sex with one of them while his bodyguards kept her friends from intervening )

I agree that he is a lowlife, but sorry but it has not been proven that he had sex. And the girls were not wearing the armband that is issued at the door for people under 21.

posted by Doehead at 07:46 PM on April 21

I agree that he is a lowlife, but sorry but it has not been proven that he had sex. And the girls were not wearing the armband that is issued at the door for people under 21.

Absolutely. And the only thing Goodell mentions in the suspension is the providing drinks to minors that were already drunk (not the sex or the rape, although the notoriety of the accusation certainly influenced his decision ).

Regardless, are we expected to believe that Ben is the 1st NFL player to buy drinks to someone underage? And that merits a 6 game suspension? I mean Jeff Reed, who plays on the same team as Ben, was drunk and had his tallywaker out in public taking a piss in front of God and everyone, and he's rewarded with a franchise tag. You could argue that's damning enough for a suspension as well, but he won't be getting one.

posted by bdaddy at 08:00 PM on April 21

The guy's a drunken stooge who brings problems on himself because he's too fucking stupid to figure he could be made into a public spectacle. The NFL and/or the Steelers don't have to wait or rely on some ragtag bunch of hick cops to do some crappy piece of investigating to realize they have a conduct policy the players have all agreed to that has been violated not once by Benny boy, but twice. Goodell can do what he sees as being appropriate in these cases and I applaud him for doing it. The NFL is always going to attract individuals with athletic ability who, unfortunately, can't handle themselves in public, especially when they have a great deal of attention on themselves, and also have more money than they could have ever imagined. It's a very bad, dangerous combination. Some can handle it, some can't. Those who can't need to be held accountable. Benny boy wants to spend his offseason getting fat and drunk, drinking his face off, thinking every single drunken girl who may be a bit star-struck by a NFL star being in their midst wants to screw him, and having bodyguards doing all the dirty work for him? Well he needs to figure out Goodell will see through that crap.

posted by dyams at 08:09 PM on April 21

I agree that he is a lowlife, but sorry but it has not been proven that he had sex.

Roethlisberger told police there was "consensual sexual contact" between himself and the woman, according to UPI. The fact that some form of sexual contact occurred is not in dispute.

And the girls were not wearing the armband that is issued at the door for people under 21.

So what? It's a fact that they were under 21 and Roethlisberger bought them booze. That's all that matters. People who buy booze for minors don't get to use the "they looked 21" excuse.

Regardless, are we expected to believe that Ben is the 1st NFL player to buy drinks to someone underage?

That doesn't matter. If it happened, and it's so widely publicized that it embarrasses the league, the suspension should be no surprise at all.

posted by rcade at 08:12 PM on April 21

Roethlisberger told police there was "consensual sexual contact" between himself and the woman, according to UPI. The fact that some form of sexual contact occurred is not in dispute.

It's also not in dispute that the girl was very, very drunk. And, she thinks she was raped. Goodell doesn't have to prove anything. Plus, he actually talked to Roethlisberger, so he has heard his side of it. It's just ridiculous that people are making light of this like Roethlisberger has it so hard. It looks to me like he got a six game suspension for his second rape. Yeah, poor Ben.

posted by bperk at 08:31 PM on April 21

Steelers will be just fine without Rapistberger.

Hope Ben likes wearing Silver and Black.

posted by cixelsyd at 08:40 PM on April 21

For those that are having a hard time understanding the fairness of a 6 game suspension, try to picture this happening at your place of employment.

I know with 100% certainty that I'm fired if I make headline news with this sort of behavior. My company cares about their image and wouldn't tolerate what Ben has done. Especially given that he's been a problem before.

posted by dviking at 09:41 PM on April 21

So what? It's a fact that they were under 21 and Roethlisberger bought them booze. That's all that matters. People who buy booze for minors don't get to use the "they looked 21" excuse.

Should he start carding every girl he buys drinks for?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 01:43 AM on April 22

Should he start carding every girl he buys drinks for?

If he's smart, yes.

Also, I thought she looked 18 doesn't work either (so I've heard).

posted by justgary at 04:18 AM on April 22

Should he start carding every girl he buys drinks for?

I think a guy who has twice been accused of rape, whose reputation is one incident away from complete ruin, might want to avoid these kinds of situations entirely.

posted by rcade at 07:02 AM on April 22

Those arguing that the suspension is too harsh probably have only been listening to TV reports or reading only the headlines and didn't read the details of the police report. Those of us who are fans of the team and have read every detail of these last two situations -- and the details of this second case make me more likely to believe there is at least some truth to the first--realise that Ben lured an underage and extremely drunk student to a bathroom (how romantic) to have sex with her, while his off-duty police buddies prevented her friends from trying to help her. This is what was reported to the police by almost everyone involved, including his teammate Willie Colon. I can't support anyone who thinks that because the victim decided she didn't want to be slammed by Ben's high-paid lawyers that all is just peachy keen.

I am a life-long Steelers fan, and I want Ben OUT of a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform. I don't give a shit if they never win another Super Bowl ring. If I had a chance to speak with Ben I'd ask him what he'd think if someone treated his sister the way he treats women.

Arguing that because he wasn't convicted of the crime therefore it is all okay is kinda otcy (a new word I made up from a Mythbuster episode. It means Off The Charts Yuk)

posted by scully at 07:40 AM on April 22

Should he start carding every girl he buys drinks for?

Only if you think he should be getting into these situations in the future.

posted by yerfatma at 08:21 AM on April 22

A good way to avoid buying drinks for underage girls is to stay out of 18+ clubs in college towns. Maybe socialize where there aren't such a high concentration of minors. You know, act his age, kinda.

posted by tahoemoj at 10:12 AM on April 22

The guy's a drunken stooge who brings problems on himself because he's too fucking stupid to figure he could be made into a public spectacle.

If you coulda squeezed 'reprobate' and 'slimy' into that sentence it woulda been a 'lil more accurate.

posted by mjkredliner at 10:55 AM on April 22

Roethlisberger told police there was "consensual sexual contact" between himself and the woman, according to UPI. The fact that some form of sexual contact occurred is not in dispute.

Sexual contact , but he also said they did not have sex, which is what Doehead was saying.

posted by bdaddy at 11:50 AM on April 22

It looks to me like he got a six game suspension for his second rape.

You'd make a fine judge.

His first *rape* was preposterous. She files charges, not criminal but civil, a full YEAR after the incident. Several of her friends and coworkers come out and say she told them before hand how she was going to have sex with him. They have an email from her from the days after the "rape" joking that she was going to have a "Roethlisberger baby". She claims she attended counseling after the rape and her friend comes out and says the counseling was over being dumped by a married man whose wife found out, pretended she was her on facebook, and told the accuser he was going to Iraq. This is the first *RAPE* you're talking about?

posted by bdaddy at 11:58 AM on April 22

A good way to avoid buying drinks for underage girls is to stay out of 18+ clubs in college towns. Maybe socialize where there aren't such a high concentration of minors. You know, act his age, kinda.

He's 27. He's not 37. And he's single. Granted it's a little sleazy, but I know lots of late 20-something guys who hang out at bars.

posted by bdaddy at 12:00 PM on April 22

I think a guy who has twice been accused of rap

At that point he'd only been ONCE accused of rape :-)

posted by bdaddy at 12:02 PM on April 22

Sexual contact , but he also said they did not have sex ...

That distinction seems meaningless to me, as far as what we're talking about here. He had some form of sexual contact in a bar bathroom with a very drunk girl he'd just met who wasn't old enough to drink. It was either unwanted sexual contact or exceptionally risky sexual contact with a drunken stranger, and it took place only nine months after he was sued by a hotel worker alleging rape. That incident, however unfair the suit might have been, ought to have been a wakeup call about the need to be careful in his behavior.

Granted it's a little sleazy, but I know lots of late 20-something guys who hang out at bars.

Do they hook up with strangers in public for sex when one or both of them are drunk off their ass? To each their own -- I was a teenage dungeon master who did not get afforded such opportunities -- but I think those kinds of hookups invite any number of foreseeable bad things to happen.

posted by rcade at 12:14 PM on April 22

He's 27.

That's old enough to stop hanging out in the chicken bars.

Granted it's a little sleazy, but I know lots of late 20-something guys who hang out at bars.

You're really struggling not to get this, so I'll break it down for you. Your opinion that this was "a little sleazy" is irrelevant to Roethlisberger's suspension. So is whether or not Roethlisberger's conduct was criminal. It's Roger Goodell's opinion that matters, and that's all that matters. Interestingly, as stupid as Big Ben has been in the past, this fact does seem to have sunk in -- at least I haven't read about him bitching about the suspension, or running his mouth about either of his two accusers. I hope, for his sake and the sake of those around them, that this is not a case of someone stepping on his foot and telling him to zip it, or even of Ben maintaining a sullen silence all the while feeling hard done by. I hope that it has dawned on him that no matter what he thinks, a good many other people find his conduct abhorrent, and that if he wants to continue to be a free member of human society, he'd better clean his act up fast.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:25 PM on April 22

... at least I haven't read about him bitching about the suspension, or running his mouth about either of his two accusers...

I would guess his silence is on the advice of his attorneys and the Steeler organization.

... if he wants to continue to be a free member of human society...
AND keep his money.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt before but I don't see how anyone can defend his behavior after this latest incident. Some of the comments I have read on other sites are just unbelievable!

I understand the team has given a real warm welcome back to Byron Leftwich.

posted by steelergirl at 01:03 PM on April 22

it's Roger Goodell's opinion that matters, and that's all that matters

Well obviously. But that's the opinion I'm arguing about. Having one person legislate his moral "opinion" in this manner is dangerous. I come back to my point about fans now making false accusations about anybody. I mean, as you say, the accusations don't have to be factual...just enough to sway Goodell's "opinion", because his is all that matters.

posted by bdaddy at 02:05 PM on April 22

That distinction seems meaningless to me, as far as what we're talking about here

It does to me. If they were kissing and he grabbed a boob in the bathroom, that's far different than having sex.

Do they hook up with strangers in public for sex when one or both of them are drunk off their ass?

Pretty much ONLY if one of them is drunk off their asses. I don't know of many people that have had a one night stand in which both weren't drunk.

And it wasn't exactly public sex..that's the complaint was that the bodyguard was preventing people from going into the room (which was in the VIP section), so it was pretty private. It's not like the people in this bathroom or this bathroom or this bathroom, or if you read any of the comment threads the many bathroom sex stories you find mentioned in there either (all of which I'm sure took place with participants who were not sober).

posted by bdaddy at 02:14 PM on April 22

I understand the team has given a real warm welcome back to Byron Leftwich.

I'm sure they will...until the Steelers start out 1-3 (with games against Tennesse, Baltimore, and Atlanta in that mix).

posted by bdaddy at 02:17 PM on April 22

If they were kissing and he grabbed a boob in the bathroom, that's far different than having sex.

So, bdaddy, I guess the ultimate question is this: What is the appropriate league reaction to a player, already accused of improprieties multiple times, who buys an underage girl drinks and proceeds to take her into a bathroom, block others' entry, and make out with her and grab her boob while she is intoxicated?

I think you're having a hard time separating the suspension from the criminal aspect of rape. No matter what he is guilty or innocent of criminally, he is guilty of giving the NFL a black eye through his irresponsible behavior. It is Goodell's job to deal with that, and if Ben thinks it's arbitrary or unfair, he can play in a different league.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:25 PM on April 22

Do they hook up with strangers in public for sex when one or both of them are drunk off their ass?

I have.

posted by Debo270 at 02:30 PM on April 22

If they were kissing and he grabbed a boob in the bathroom, that's far different than having sex.

Whether they had fully consumated sex or not isn't the issue. Whether the sexual contact was consensual is. Do you think that an NFL player who got a legally underage girl drunk and grabbed her breast without consent would not be punished by the league?

And it wasn't exactly public sex..

A bar is a public place. The bathroom was adjacent to a VIP lounge. Hence, public sex.

posted by rcade at 02:47 PM on April 22

April is Sexual Violence Awareness Month and by comments I've read, both here and on other sites awareness is definitely needed...

posted by yzelda4045 at 03:08 PM on April 22

Well obviously. But that's the opinion I'm arguing about. Having one person legislate his moral "opinion" in this manner is dangerous. I come back to my point about fans now making false accusations about anybody.

Actually, what you said previously was, "So at what point to football fans start making up claims about players just to see if they can get them suspended?" I don't know, bdaddy, at what point do they? Is it your contention that that's what happened in this case -- that a fan just made up a claim about Ben Roethlisberger in order to try and get him suspended? Is that what you're claiming? Because if so, there are a lot of people who were actually there who don't agree with you. And if not, then I guess we're not at that dreaded hypothetical slippery-slope point, are we?

No, it would seem that the point that we're at is the same point we were at a month ago, a year ago, or ten years ago -- the point where bad behavior can get you fired from your job. Hate it all you like, but I'm guessing you've had a job in the past and that you understood, on some level, the need to mind your p's and q's. Roethlisberger thought that he didn't have to answer to anybody. He was wrong, and you're wrong in being such a persistent apologist for him.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:20 PM on April 22

It looks to me like he got a six game suspension for his second rape.

You'd make a fine judge.

I'm not a judge. This is not a court of law. And, you are not his defense lawyer. I'm hoping that you haven't read the police reports. If you have, then you are being an apologist for reprehensible behavior.

posted by bperk at 06:28 PM on April 22

I'm a bit surprised at the total. 6 games is a huge number. Gives Pittsburgh a bit more ammo to trade him. He's cost them half a season.

I can appreciate giving Ben the benefit of the doubt, but given the almost unanimous reaction from witnesses, character witnesses, the team and league, I think it's becoming more and more of a stretch. This guy is a huge douche at best.

This seems less and less to me about a league protecting its reputation, and more and more like a fucking intervention. He's lucky he isn't in jail.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:32 PM on April 22

I'm a bit surprised at the total. 6 games is a huge number.

If he's a good little boy from now until the season starts, I wouldn't doubt it gets knocked down to 4 games. Marshawn Lynch had possession of weapons, ran ladies over in downtown Buffalo, and had his suspension reduced.

The only difference between the two is Benny boy has won two Super Bowls and Marshawn sucks.

posted by dyams at 09:21 PM on April 22

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