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Big Ben's break is Goodell's mistake

September 3, 2010 - Per Peterson

There’s usually no messing around when it comes to NFL?Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has developed a warden-like reputation when it comes to disciplining players.
Is he now going soft?
Goodell has cut Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension down to four games, meaning the star QB can play Oct. 17. He was suspended in April for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, but Goodell said at the time he would review the player’s behavior over the next few months. Goodell was satisfied that the quarterback has followed the league’s guidelines and stayed out of trouble.
Roethlisberger, in case you forgot, was accused of sexually assaulting a Georgia college student following a night of drinking in a Georgia bar on March 5. He was not charged by Georgia authorities.
In a letter to Roethlisberger, Goodell said, “You have told me and the Steelers that you are committed to making better decisions. Your actions over the past several months have been consistent with that promise and you must continue to honor that commitment.”
So … what, is this time off for good behavior?
What a bad precedence to set.
True, Roethlisberger is the first player suspended by Goodell under the NFL’s personal conduct policy who was not arrested, charged with or convicted of a crime, but Big Ben’s been in trouble before and will probably get in trouble again next offseason.Goodell had built the kind of hard-core, little-tolerance reputation the commissioner of a pro sports league needs. Going easy on Roethlisberger is contrary to that reputation, and don’t think the players won’t notice.
The original suspension was for six games. It should’ve stuck. Cincinnati's Chad Ochocinco refers to Goodell as "dad" in his ridiculous tweets he sends out like it's a weekly mini-newsletter. Looks like father doesn't know best.


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