Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has officially been suspended for the first six games of the season due to violations of the league's conduct policy. According to reports, he also can't practice with the team until he undergoes a "comprehensive behavioral evaluation," whatever that is.

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203 comments, Last at 30 Apr 2010, 12:56am

1 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

More than I thought, actually.

I won't enjoy watching the Steelers lose without him, but nevertheless I personally would not be sorry to never see him in a Steelers uniform again. Or any other uniform, for that matter.

I would suggest a Bengals uniform for him, but they're only interested in actual convicted felons, so he has some work to do.

20 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Seems to me that the Steelers are the right uniform for him. Any Bengals jokes at this point are pure hypocracy.

How many wife-beaters has Pittsburgh had? Is it just two or is it more than that. Then add Rapeliesburger. They've never hesitated to take prima-donna WRs like Holmes and Plex, even if they don't keep them around. And that doesn't even mention Jeff Reed.

Steelers fans lost the ability to cast the first stone years ago.

119 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

^ What he said, mostly. The real point here is that since the one awful year the Bengals had, they've mostly kept things together. I'm pretty sure (and it certainly seems like it) that the Steelers have actually had the worst record in the league for player misconduct since 06 or 07. Not that it matters, since they have two rings to the Bengals 0, but the Bengals-are-all-criminals stuff is maddeningly old at this point.

2 Here's a link [NFL.com]

http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d817ab3d0&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true

6 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Whee. So Roethlisberger gets accused of doing something, no charges are brought, and he's suspended for, as far as we know, "flirting while famous"? Goodell is getting silly with his league-discipline-for-random-events stuff.

And yet steroid guys like Merriman, and other substance abuse guys like the Minnesota pair, who are essentially cheating at football, are going to play every one of those six games.

I know Roethlisberger may have done something very icky. But if there aren't even charges brought, let alone a conviction, this is a pretty hefty slap for what is, officially, nothing.

8 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

He's getting slapped because it's his second charge in 9 months. Courts have to treat things on a case-by-case basis evidence-wise, but Goodell doesn't have that problem. He can look at it and say, "even if there isn't enough to convict, there's enough suggestive evidence to determine that there is conduct detrimental."

Besides, there's no way he could give him a short, 2 game, suspension. He'd be inviting race suits.

Also, steriod abuse is different, b/c (as I understand it) it's specifically addressed in the CBA, and so cannot be included in conduct detrimental. Plus, with the Minnesota pair, a local court ruled the NFL's suspension illegal in that state.

11 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

and he's suspended for, as far as we know, "flirting while famous"?

For one thing, that's not at all what he was accused of doing. For another, while I do agree the punishment appears excessively harsh, all the reports out of Pittsburgh are that he has never treated people well and this is more of a "dude, you're a douchebag and it's reflecting badly on the NFL/Steelers" kind of punishment.

15 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

First, this is a PR issue; Roethlisberger's reputation is now that of a rapist, fair or not. The NFL wants to be perceived as being a morally upstanding league (whether this is a good stance to take is up for debate), so they want to show that they look down upon those with a bad public image.

Second, Merriman and the Williamses were suspended by the league. Merriman served his, and the Vikings got theirs overturned in state court. If Roethlisberger wants to bring his case to court (which I'm sure he won't, as that could only bring up damning legal evidence) to get the suspension overturned, he can try.

16 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Criminal charges cannot be filed and a conviction cannot occur:
1. if it is merely likely that a person has committed a crime
2. if it is merely probable that a person has committed a crime
3. if it is very probable that a person has committed a crime, but it would not be provable in court.

Criminal charges can be filed and a conviction can occur:
4. if there is there is sufficient evidence to prove that a person has committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

The fact that criminal charges were not filed only means that #4 above is true.

182 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

This isn't true. A conviction cannot occur unless there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal charges can be filed against someone merely based on an accusation. After charges are filed, a person can only be held and taken to trial if there is "probable cause," which is a very low standard--basically, if there is enough evidence that a reasonable person *could* believe the accused committed the crime.

31 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

I don't know about that. It seems to me that merely being accused of a crime is now as damaging to a player as actually committing one. Mike Vick had only a two game suspension (although it was effectively an 18 game suspension) for actually participating in dogfighting. Donte Stallworth was suspended for a full season for actually committing manslaughter. However, as far as I can tell, the first allegation against Roethlisberger was entirely untrue while the second was very suspicious but it seems now that even if it had gone to trial, there would not have been any evidence to convict him:
http://nationalsportsreview.com/sports/us/d-wil/2010/04/12/da-fred-bright-transcript-plus-the-post-statement-interview/
So, essentially Roger Goodell is basing his suspension on either the testimony of the accuser(s) or the fact that there is now pressure from the media to do something to him. Although the thing that bothers me most is that Goodell is acting like he thinks he knows what happened better than a District Attorney, it seems that the worst possible option for a athlete is to have an incident not go to trial. If he is innocent, he most likely gets away without a suspension. But if he is guilty, then he gets a suspension only about 2.5 times worse than if he is not tried at all. This is the home of statistics, i might be wrong but i think it is a good minimax strategy to be tried for the crime 2 thirds of the time.

81 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

There wouldn't have been any evidence to convict him in Georgia, which requires force. In the state that I went to college at, we were told that if you were "highly intoxicated" you couldn't provide informed consent, which meant it was sexual assault. A heavily slurred "yes" wasn't consent.

166 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

The NFL works with a different standard than "did a player commit a felony". The NFL can suspend a person simply for going out in public on numerous occasions, getting extremely drunk, and pursuing sexual encounters with 20-year old women.

Vick had "only a 2-game suspension" but he also spent nearly two years in prison. The NFL can keep prison in mind when assigning its own penalties.

79 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

I understand your concern about a court of public opinion and the possibility of a Tyranny of the Majority.

But what is legal and what is moral are not the same things. What is illegal and what is bad for business are not the same things. You can be fired for being bad for business for doing nothing illegal at all. Ask any fan of the Jail Blazers or the Cincinnati Felons why perception matters in a sports entertainment business.

In addition, since there were serious errors on the part of the police (failure to secure the crime season, lead cop resigns after comments and pic with potential defendant taken that night, etc.), the fact that he did nothing provable beyond a reasonable doubt is not synonymous with doing nothing wrong.

Just out of curiosity, is there a morals clause in standard NFL contracts and does anyone know what it reads?

156 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Rape is the most under-reported crime in the US, at roughly one report for every 25 instances. Roethlisberger had a goon squad whose job it was to prevent anyone from entering a bar bathroom after the entry of a woman who became intoxicated drinking drinks he purchased for her. To compare cheating to this is both ridiculous and insulting. R. isn't the first person to get a healthy suspension after failing to be charged...

21 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

http://twitter.com/Adam_Schefter/status/12586758471

Every team that everybody debated for Donovan McNabb is now back in play on Ben Roethlisberger. Same candidates, different QB.

http://twitter.com/Adam_Schefter/status/12590511372

Here are teams that Steelers have called about Roethlisberger: Rams, 49ers, Raiders, Bills, Jaguars, Seahawks and Browns.

http://twitter.com/Adam_Schefter/status/12590566370

Here are the known no's on interest in Roethlisberger right now: Rams, Bills. Others might not be, just not known yet.

23 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

I find that difficult to believe. McNabb, for all his faults, doesn't carry the same negative PR baggage as Roethelisberger. He's not as talented at this point, but the Redskins (blech) don't have to deal with the headaches that will inevitably come from employing a suspected rapist either.

Hail Hydra!

26 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

I don't think so. A team that signs Vick can always argue that his crimes are in the past, he's a changed man who has paid his debt to society and he doesn't have to sit for one-third of the season. It's clear Johnny Badtouch here isn't going to face any criminal charges and we're still finding out new things about his gray wang.

Hail Hydra!

29 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

A team that signs Vick can always argue that his crimes are in the past,

Ditto for Roethlisberger. The only way a Vick signing team can say that is if Vick isn't caught in a dogfighting scandal again (or similar). It's the same thing with Roethlisberger.

he's a changed man who has paid his debt to society

You can claim Roethlisberger's a changed man too, or a chang-ing one, with your team doing the changing. Bonus points. The debt to society thing is easy to replicate - you do what the Eagles did with Vick and force Roethlisberger to do community service-like things and donate lots of money.

and he doesn't have to sit for one-third of the season.

I'll take a franchise QB for 2/3 of this season plus many more over Vick for a full season anyday.

55 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Vick did jail time. That's the "paid his debt" part.

You're totally missing the point. It's not about whether or not anyone would believe Roethlisberger. It's about the team's image. That's all that matters. So long as the team's image stays clean, so long as Roethlisberger stays clean, the fans will support the team (and him). And if Roethlisberger doesn't stay clean, so long as the team axes him, the fans will still support the team.

It's Pacman Jones all over again. I mean, really - the Cowboys acquired him, they surrounded him with 'mentors,' etc. and then when it didn't work, they tossed him. The Cowboys got a bit of bad PR for it, but really, very little. There were a lot more about Jones's attempt to redeem his "troubled life, full of bad decisions."

It's the same exact thing.

38 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Try that argument in a press conference. Any reporter worth his fedora and trench coat stands up and says, "Uh, Vick committed his crimes more than two years ago and spent a year in jail for it. Your man has been accused of rape twice in the past 12 months alone and, thanks in part to some remarkably suspect police work, never spent a day behind bars. Why do you feel it's incumbent on this team to rehabilitate a repeat sex offender?"

Hail Hydra!

44 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

And any PR guy worth his salt will make that reporter look like a total jackass by saying "Here at Team X, we believe that everyone deserves second chances, and we're willing to work with any of our players who has struggles or difficulties of any kind. Ben's been tortured every day regarding his actions for months now. We believe that Ben wants to change, knows he needs to change, and we believe that we have the unique situation here to help him. We know that our community is supportive and forgiving, and will embrace the challenge of helping Ben turn away from his destructive path."

The jail time thing is just totally pointless. All the public forum will care about is whether Roethlisberger's actions change, not how they change or why they change. Team X can't lose this argument in the media unless Ben's actions continue and they don't axe him immediately. Can't. How could they? All you need to do is separate Ben's actions from Team X, and that's easy - because they happened before he was acquired.

Again, you don't need to convince the undecided people or the ones who started off negative (like the media, or you). You just need to convince people who were already willing to accept any reasonable-sounding statement. The media may lambast you (several blasted the Eagles, or the Cowboys when they acquired Jones) but the fans won't. And that's all that's really important.

49 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

depends on the team, depends on the city. For instance, for San Fran, acquiring someone like Big Ben would be so antithetical to the nature of Singletary that his head may explode. He prides himself on being a family man, and that's how he's building the image of that team. When he interviews free agents, or coaches, for instance, he pretty consistently has part of the interview over dinner with his wife and the wife of the interviewee. Public backlash ensues b/c it's antithetical to the image created, and thus hypocritical, no matter what the PR guy says.

Its also important to note that the PR guy doesn't have the power to establish discourse, nor do the fans. Discourse parameters are established by the media. The PR guy tries to direct it, and the fans react. In the case of Vick, by the time he got out of prison, the media had come around to liking him again, and discussion centered around "this is America, we believe in second chances", and "he's served his time". The Eagles PR department did nothing for that narrative; it was set by the ESPNs and SIs of this world.

56 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

The Giants "rehabilitating" Kerry Collins might be a better comparison point than Vick. While Kerry's problems (alcoholism, alleged racist comments) weren't criminal, the Giants' PR set up a similar story about giving a guy a second (actually third) chance, talking to Joe Paterno and getting him to say positive things about Kerry's character, etc.

74 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Yeah, it's all textbook PR spin methods. Plus, then, if things by some miracle work out, the team gets plenty of PR boosts from it, too. With Vick and the Eagles, remember, they got the Humane Society on board, too, and I don't doubt in a few years if Vick's still working for them, the Eagles will look pretty good.

The only question is whether or not teams think that Roethlisberger is worth the asking price, plus the headache of dealing with the PR storm. The storm's not that bad - it's actually probably less than Vick, since Vick was a convicted felon. It was surprisingly mild for Pacman Jones.

61 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

depends on the team, depends on the city. For instance, for San Fran, acquiring someone like Big Ben would be so antithetical to the nature of Singletary that his head may explode.

Absolutely true. I think it depends more on the team than the city. Controlling media in a city is easy. But the team has to be willing to accept the huge headache that managing that PR storm would be.

I don't think it'd be impossible, or even hard, and I certainly think it'd be worth it. The Eagles did it for Vick, the Cowboys did it for Jones. Roethlisberger's more valuable than both of them.

Its also important to note that the PR guy doesn't have the power to establish discourse, nor do the fans. Discourse parameters are established by the media.

Oh my God, do I disagree. This isn't politics. This is entertainment. The powerful media only cares for about a week. Once that's gone, then all you do is contact guys in the local media, ask if they want an exclusive on how Ben's rehabilitiation is going and hint about a continued good working relationship with the team, and poof, you've got your fluff piece. Run those a few times a month and you're golden.

and discussion centered around "this is America, we believe in second chances", and "he's served his time".

Hardly! The media furor around Vick was evenly split, if not against the Eagles for a while. The "second chances" crap was all spewed out by the Eagles media and Philly beat writers. There are plenty of media members who still seriously dislike Vick still playing at all.

70 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Yes, I clearly have no idea how the media works. Especially because how I suggested it works is exactly how it actually worked multiple times in the past.

Whereas how everyone else is suggesting how it would work is how it never worked, anywhere. Hell, even the Bengals reacquired Chris Henry after a while and made it look good.

You also assume that Vick only was a dog fighter. He also had the Ron Mexico scandal, flicked off the fans, and was caught with illegal drugs. Many

Right... and absolutely nothing bad happened in Philly. Which is why people believed the spin that the Eagles media was putting on it. And why, in general, the Eagles fans don't care. And if Vick had been caught doing stupid things in Philly, the Eagles would've dumped him, and the players would've been encouraged to say things like "we reached out to him, but he just didn't respond" and people would've rapidly moved on.

57 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

That only works if 1) the majority of fans really are neutral or at least willing to forgive and 2) the opposition shoots itself in the foot. It was a lot easier for the Eagles to claim Vick was a product of an environment that didn't see a problem with dog fighting. There aren't a whole lot of environments that encourage sexual assault. At least not openly. Roethelisberger can't credibly say, "I didn't think I was doing anything wrong because, where I come from, I wasn't doing anything wrong." Plus, plenty of fans in Philadelphia were willing to at least reserve judgment on Vick because he'd suffered a pretty steep fall from grace. Six games is a minor irritant compared with going bankrupt and spending a year in federal prison.

And Roethelisberger's new team won't have the advantage of squaring off against PETA. Fan opposition to PETA probably did more to improve Vick's standing than any mealy-mouthed statement from an unctuous PR flack.

In the long-term you're probably right if said hypothetical team wins a lot and fast then most people will get over it. But Vick has a relatively low-profile as a backup, Roethelisberger would be the face of the franchise and that's altogether different. You're assuming he skates so long as there are no more felony allegations. My guess is that your carefully crafted puffery falls apart the first time he's spotted at a local bar.

Hail Hydra!

69 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Roethelisberger can't credibly say, "I didn't think I was doing anything wrong because, where I come from, I wasn't doing anything wrong."

You don't say it like that, no. But it's a very similar argument. If you think there aren't environments that encourage sexual assault against intoxicated women, you've never been to college. Note please that I'm not in any way suggesting those actions are anything other but the people involved's fault.

I'm just saying that the bull$#!+ argument that Vick pulled regarding "where I came from, I wasn't doing anything wrong" is just as stupid as "oh, everyone does that in college, it's not that big a deal." It's all spin, and it's easy to manage that. You have Roethlisberger dump a ton of money to women's rights, speak against sexual assault on campuses for a while, etc.

You're assuming he skates so long as there are no more felony allegations. My guess is that your carefully crafted puffery falls apart the first time he's spotted at a local bar.

Right, and then the team dumps him. See, Cowboys and Adam Jones, and then the team says "we dedicated a lot of resources to Ben, but..." and everyone pats Team X on the back and moves forward.

The puffery regarding Vick only worked because Vick stayed out of trouble. Seriously, the worst anyone got regarding Vick all of last year was that he had a drink in some bar. This is as opposed to Pacman Jones, and that's why the Cowboys dumped him.

78 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

And Vick and Jones were both free agents so there was no opportunity cost. The Steelers want a top 10 pick. Sign a guy with Roethlisberger's history and throw away a top 10 pick if he turns out to be an asshole? I don't know if even Belichik could pull that off.

In any event, both Jones and Vick could stand up and say "I did it, I was wrong, I'm sorry and I won't do it again." (Or in Jones' case, "Pac be makin' dem azzcakes go crackalacka. He be straight sorry fo' dat, on da real ta real. He ain't gon' drank no mo'. OH, HE AIN'T GON' DRANK. Chu chu.") Roethlisberger can't stand up and say that and without that act of contrition, I just don't think the PR works.

Hail Hydra!

82 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

You may want to rethink that post, considering that Jones was not, in fact, a free agent. The Cowboys traded for him.

Yes, the Steelers want more, but Roethlisberger is worth probably an order of magnitude more than Jones.

Roethlisberger can't stand up and say that

Sure he can. He has to be a little careful as to how he words it, due to legal issues, but so did Jones. God, do I wish contrition were easier to fake, but it's so, so easy - especially for the guys that are really pieces of trash.

86 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

You're right, but I still say a 4th round pick for a CB is not the same thing as a top 10 pick for a QB.

Obviously, he's going to stand up and say something. I just don't see how it carries any weight. He'll sound like Mark McGuire, "I'm sorry, but I can't tell you what I did." Nobody bought that crap.

Hail Hydra!

106 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

I dunno, they seem pretty similar. Especially because Jones was out of the game for a full year already.

Nobody bought that crap because McGuire was already out of the sport and no one had a reason to like him anymore. He also denied things, which is totally different than what Roethlisberger would have to do. It's like Vick - if Vick wasn't signed to the Eagles, when he came out of prison, the number of Eagles fans who said that Vick deserves a second chance would be tiny. But he's on their team, so yeah, okay, maybe he's changed now. No, most likely, he's not, he's almost certainly still a dick.

But again, it's not about Roethlisberger. It's about the team. People can think Roethlisberger's a dick all they want so long as they think that the team would still have a zero-tolerance policy to any of the actions Roethlisberger committed in the past.

167 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Roethlisberger is, right now, a much better QB than Vick. Vick has yet to show in his post-prison days that he can be an effective starting QB in the NFL. Roethlisberger has shown that he can lead a high-powered passing attack and win big games against anybody on any stage. He's still only 14 months from winning a Super Bowl!

From a football standpoint, it's hard to see why anybody would be interested in Vick. At his best he wasn't a great passer and, given that he turns 30 in June, it's hard to see him regaining his form as a dangerous runner.

27 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

I think you're way overstating the PR baggage. I mean, just dramatically overstating it. PR is all about spin - so long as there's a spinnable angle, it's not a problem. The thing to realize is that you're not trying to convince 'undecided' people, like in politics. You're just trying to put on a good face - the fans are already inclined to forgive you (they primarily just want football, and would prefer that the players don't have actual lives anyway) so if it's even a plausible spin, you're golden.

Important note: I'm not saying that Roethlisberger's actions were spinnable. I'm saying the acquisition of Roethlisberger is spinnable. You say "we believe in second chances," and "we've talked to Ben, and we're beginning a program to set him down the right track," and "Ben knows that we have a zero-tolerance policy for anything like this in the future."

Then, when people ask questions like "how can you have a guy suspected of rape on your team" you answer and say "well, Ben didn't have the right support structure in Pittsburgh; he wasn't focused on the team, he was too distracted by the rock-star image that had developed in Pittsburgh around him. Here, we've got good, solid mentors and we're making sure that his energies are focused towards winning a Super Bowl."

No matter what, any team that would acquire Roethlisberger is guaranteed to be able to spin themselves as better than the Steelers. If his actions improve, then the Steelers are a group of hoodlums and the new team is straight-laced. If something goes wrong, you cut/trade Roethlisberger immediately and you still look better because you did something right away, whereas the Steelers had him for quite a while with problems.

But it doesn't matter. I don't believe the Steelers are even interested in trading Roethlisberger at all. If they are, any of the other teams should jump on it, almost regardless of what the asking price is. This opportunity is just way too rare.

34 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Wait...one needs the "right support structure" and no "distractions" and the "right mentors" to not be a sexual predator?

There's no way you can spin that trade as a "good guy, wrong environment" situation. Far better to say, "Hey, we need a quarterback, Ben is a proven winner, and it only cost us a fifth round pick to see if he's a good fit." If you own a team with attendance problems and long-subpar QB play, maybe the fans won't care much about the other stuff...a team like Oakland, perhaps.

41 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Wait...one needs the "right support structure" and no "distractions" and the "right mentors" to not be a sexual predator?

Yup. If Roethlisberger is squeaky clean at his new team, and was a disaster at his old team, that must be true, right? He's just a kid with problems who got no help at his previous team, surrounded by thugs and miscreants who didn't steer him on the right path.

It's simple. You're trying to say, quietly and indirectly (of course!), that the Steelers and Pittsburgh were the problem. American popular society is basically built on the idea of passing the blame around nowadays, and the Steelers have already set themselves up for this simply because they already had Holmes on the team and Roethlisberger had prior problems.

Look, these are the exact same arguments that people gave regarding Vick - that he was trapped and had fallen in with the wrong people. People will buy it, but only if Roethlisberger's actions actually change.

There's no way you can spin that trade as a "good guy, wrong environment" situation.

No, that's not what you're trying to say, and you would never say "he's a good kid" with Roethlisberger if you acquired him. You're trying to say "troubled kid, we're helping him through these tough times to amend for his previous behavior and be a valued member of the community."

67 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

You clearly don't know anything about the Rooney family. They sent Santonio Holmes packing and they can send Ben packing too. The owner is into family values and a clean image and he'd easily part ways with Big Ben. No one player is bigger than the team or the game itself. But you can keep going with your theories if it makes you feel big.

100 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Then, when people ask questions like "how can you have a guy suspected of rape on your team" you answer and say "well, Ben didn't have the right support structure in Pittsburgh; he wasn't focused on the team, he was too distracted by the rock-star image that had developed in Pittsburgh around him. Here, we've got good, solid mentors and we're making sure that his energies are focused towards winning a Super Bowl."

So the public is going to buy that the Steelers, one of the most family-oriented, disciplined, and tight-knit organizations in the NFL, wasn't able to provide a firm support structure for Roethlisberger, but a sad sack franchise like Buffalo or a basket case like Oakland will be able to? People are dumb, but I'm not sure they're that dumb. Furthermore, they'll buy the argument that a grown man needs a "support structure" to not rape women? Again, I'm skeptical.

I'm not saying Roethlisberger won't have a successful second act if he's traded. He's a good player and will help any team he goes to produce on the field, and that's what fans care for more than anything. But I don't think the PR problem trading for him would create is an insignificant one.

104 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Yup, they'll believe it. Because the people they're selling it to are their fans. And guess what? They already very likely dislike the Steelers. They already like the team. All they need is something to tell them that their favorite franchise actually cares about the fact that the guy they signed was accused of sexual assault.

Will they convince the national media? Hell no. First, you can't convince the national media of anything - they have an opinion when something happens, and they rarely if ever change it. Just like the national media didn't buy the fact that the Cowboys would be able to help Pacman Jones. Just like several members of the national media don't buy the fact that Vick's changed at all. But the only people they need to convince are the fans. And the Cowboys fans and Eagles fans bought it almost right away.

Furthermore, they'll buy the argument that a grown man needs a "support structure" to not rape women?

They bought the argument that a grown man needs a support structure/mentors to not torture dogs and not order hits on people. It's probably actually an easier argument for Roethlisberger, simply because his actions are so close to college frat boys and easy for large numbers of people to relate to. That was incredibly disturbing for me to write, but probably true.

It also depends on what you mean by "buy." Do they believe that the athlete means it? Yeah, I doubt it. But the fact that the athlete is at least being forced to confront his actions as wrong is easily enough for most fans.

126 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Pat, I suppose you're just more cynical than I am (which is some feat, BTW). I am one Eagles fan who doesn't like for a second that they signed Michael Vick - the only reason I was able to swallow my disgust was frankly that Vick had gone bankrupt and spent time in prison, and I do think there's something to the argument that if we really believe people can change a guy like Vick who's paid his debt to society deserves a second chance. I don't think I'd be able to root for someone I felt had committed a crime and gotten away with it. Thankfully that's never happened with any of my favorite teams, other than with very minor crimes (marijuana possession and the like), but did go from being indifferent to the Ravens before 2000, to actively rooting against them after the Ray Lewis case. Roethlisberger is another guy I'll never root for again, because even if he's not a rapist, he's clearly a first-rate asshole.

I do think that, if Roethlisberger produced on the field and didn't get into any more trouble, the stink of acquiring him would dissipate somewhat. But I don't know that it would entirely go away.

32 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Wow...just...wow...if the six game suspension is fully enforced, then I will DEMAND that every single wife/girlfriend beater to be equally treated...the NFL stepped into a very dangerous role, passing on morality judgements on the behaviour of the players...I am not Ben's advocate, but really, he just did what the society keeps feeding to all of us 24/7...so, it can not be surprise that a young, single, successful and millionaire QB thought that he could get every chick in town and be a douche, but to unload all the anger towards Ben is silly...lets just check out the TV commercials during the Draft, and every single NFL transmission...the endorsers of the morality judges promote whatever the NFL is now punishing...cheesus...I am not following the NFL looking for role models, I just want good entertainment...

35 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

If I was accused of half the things Ben is, with or without a conviction, I wouldn't be suspended, I'd be fired.

Ben's not accused of domestic violence or assault. He's been accused, multiple times, of sexual crimes of various seriousness -- there's really no moral judgements that the NFL is making.

I see nothing wrong about the way he's being treated, unless maybe it's not severe enough. The NFL should hold its employees to a high standard.

83 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Exactly.

If I admitted to having "relations" with an underage drunk girl in the bathroom of a nightclub, while at the same time declaring that it was consensual while she said it was rape.....& my company's name was mentioned in the press....I would not be given the luxury of waiting for criminal charges to be filed. I would be fired the very next day.

Whether his conduct was criminal or not, what he admits to doing is well beyond what is "acceptable behavior" in most communities.

88 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

OK, whatever, but from here on out this is the standard for suspects, we will need to see increased levels of punishments for accused and, obviously, convicted players.

Just don't tell me that guys with that behaviour does not belong to the NFL, the league would be out of employees in a hurry.

I do not care what any of the players do on their lives, as long as they do not break the law, let them be whatever WE WANT THEM TO BE...and WE WOULD LIKE TO BE AS WELL...

"I want to be rich, famous, successful and young...to bring world peace"...please, this society is not built that way, and asking people to behave otherwise is just not right.

I do not admire Big Ben...but I wish him well...if he gets convicted, screw him, let him pay the price...

In football news...I would not trade him unless there is a king's ransom on the table...this year's 1st round (top 6) and NEXT years first and second...or something...this team is not build to miss two years bringing along a rookie...

39 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

So, basically, the smartest thing for a team playing the Steelers to do would be flood the hotel where the Steelers are playing with attractive coeds from the local university and just wait for Roethlisberger to do something stupid?

Hell, at this point he doesn't need to do anything stupid, he just needs to be accused of doing something stupid.

59 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

"Hell, at this point he doesn't need to do anything stupid, he just needs to be accused of doing something stupid"

So a 28 year old man hanging out in a college bar, getting a 20 year old (underage in GA) drunk, taking her to the men's room, having one of his bodyguards block the door so her friends can't help her and she can't get out, having non-consensual sex with the underage person whom he just got drunk in said bathroom, and walking down the hallway with his penis hanging out is NOT doing something stupid in your book?

Really?

-------------
Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

42 Re: Image Responsibility

NFL players need to think about the positions they put themselves into. Like it or not, what one player does reflects not only on him, but his teammates and the league.

So you don't have to believe that Ben did or did not do what he was accused of. All you have to really believe is that he should never have gotten into a position where it was a he-said she-said about what happened in that bathroom. Period. This is not his first brush with negative publicity, and the motorcycle accident pretty much indicates that he is perfectly capable of acting without thinking.

If you act without thinking repeatedly in the NFL, you should get suspended. The NFL does not, and should not, evaluate their players only on the gridiron.

With a rape conviction of course, the NFL would not have to worry about anything. He would not be seeing the outside of a jail cell until he was past coming back to the NFL. So the idea that he was not convicted doesn't really carry much weight. The NFL doesn't have to worry about him being convicted so much. Remember Michael Vick?

46 Re: Image Responsibility

"So you don't have to believe that Ben did or did not do what he was accused of. All you have to really believe is that he should never have gotten into a position where it was a he-said she-said about what happened in that bathroom. Period. This is not his first brush with negative publicity, and the motorcycle accident pretty much indicates that he is perfectly capable of acting without thinking. "

I think that pretty much hits the nail on the head. If he continues to act without thinking, he's got a good chance to wind up either permanently
disabled via accident, or getting to know Bubba really, really well. While
I think 6 games is a bit harsh without charges/conviction, I also think he
needed/deserved a warning shot across the bow. If he gets the messages,
all will be well. If not, well, he'd been warned.

94 Re: Image Responsibility

It only really matters if fans really cared. But there is no evidence fans really give a crap about this at all. They talk a good game but buy the jerseys and show up for the games anyways. Fans root for all kinds of bad people IF they are on their team. The number one thing that correlates with making money in sports is winning or losing. If you build a winner full of criminals, fans come. You make money. Sports teams started these policies because they thought cleaning up their image would help them sell their product. But it didn't change anything. Players in general commit less crimes then males of the same social demographic. But fans view players as if they are more likely to be criminals! In no way has the personal conduct policies helped. They instead it turned what use to be small local stories into national press stories. They've been great for 24/7 sports news TV and radio, but have done nothing to help the image of sports leagues. The only benefit I've seen from these personal conduct policies is the ability of franchises to recoup money from players they have no use for.

96 Re: Image Responsibility

But there is no evidence fans really give a crap about this at all.

Tell that to the NBA. This type of shift in perceptions is very difficult to gauge or combat, but once it happens you are stuck showing playoff games on basic cable.

154 Re: Image Responsibility

when did the NBA ever show playoff games on network tv? There championship series games were shown on tape delay more than 30 years ago. Now the championship games are shown in Primetime.

146 Re: Image Responsibility

I've got three close friends who are Steelers diehards. Two of them want Roethlisberger gone, even if it's via outright release. One went as far as to write a very strongly worded letter to Rooney.

I don't think they're alone. It's hard to be a fan of a team led by a man whom you loathe.

45 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

The NFL in no way needs the blessing of a court of law to enforce its own conduct policy.

The NFL must protect its business interests by punishing employees who tarnish its image.

The NFL conducts thorough investigations OF ITS OWN--and is much more competent at it than the state of Georgia--before doing anything.

There is a lot of evidence, proof really, some of which is out there to read about, some of which isn't, that Ben Roethlisberger is in fact a sexual predator, and that what happened in Georgia was his pattern when he went out, and bound to turn bad sooner or later.

Besides that, the man is just a colossal asshole even by the standards of professional athletes. Pittsburgh is neck deep in stories of what a prick he is. The body of evidence suggests this is just a man out of control. The NFL is both justified and wise to draw the line with him.

50 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

All of that said, Pat is right. Roethlisberger is a championship-caliber quarterback, and if he can be had even for the Jay Cutler price, many teams should pounce on that, hire a good PR firm, and roll the dice they can keep him under control. It's possible he could be had for less. The feel I get from the Steelers is they would happily trade him for the right price--it's just no one knows what the right price is. Might be just a first round pick; might be two firsts, a third and a firstborn child. We just don't know.

The Steelers made an offer to the Rams that the Rams rejected; it was probably Roethlisberger straight up for the #1 pick, if I had to guess. I wouldn't take that deal if I were the Rams, but I would make a deal happen yesterday if I were, say, the Cardinals. Leinart, this year's second and next year's first for Roethlisberger? Done. I wouldn't be interested in pissing away the prime of one of the great receivers to play the sport with bad quarterbacks.

53 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

"The NFL conducts thorough investigations OF ITS OWN--and is much more competent at it than the state of Georgia--before doing anything."

This is a huge point, that the "he was only accused" crowd is ignoring. Does anyone doubt that the league has access to some of the best private investigators in the country to look into the Roethlisberger matter? And that the burden of proof for PIs is nowhere near as high as it is for a criminal investigation?

85 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

I'm sure the NFL could hire the best private investigators, if they wanted to. But what do they want? Do they really care about truth and justice? Do they care if Ben is innocent or guilty? Or do they only care about the public perception of what happened? Same applies to the Steelers.

Another team, on the other hand, might care more about the facts when weighing a trade.

170 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

They have a vested interested in knowing what the truth is. They cannot make a bargain with reality.

The NFL is responding to the damage that Roethlisberger has done to the image of their league, just as they have done with Pacman Jones, Mike Vick, and Donte Stallworth. They are primarily interested in the PR angle. And from that angle, Roethlisberger has a seriously tarnished image.

71 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

I take from your comments that you feel the investigation conducted by the State of Georgia was conducted in a less than competent manner. Why? From what I have read it was pretty exhaustive. I understand that the local Milledgeville Police Department may not have acted in the most professional manner, but the investigation by the state police was complete. That being said, the chances of getting a conviction in this case hinged on the willingness of the accuser to press forward with testifying. When the woman expressed a unwillingness to testify the chances of being able to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt became nearly nil. I doubt the NFL's private investigation turned up any more information than the District Attorney's, but Commissioner Goodell can punish Roethelisberger without having to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Smoking Gun

58 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

If I had a powerfull position in the NFLPA I'd make sure that some sort of guideline for suspensions was a part of the next agreement. At this point suspensions are random. What if I accuse Philip Rivers of murder, do you suspend him based on what a crazy fan (me) says, or let him play because the legal system found him innocent?

PR-suspension? I dont buy it - a rapist gets suspended from his job for six weeks and everything is OK? It's like saying: "We're not completely sure you commited the murder, so instead of tossing you in the chair, so we'll put you 40 years in prison.

Besides, in what world does a 2-time super bowl winning QB ever have to use force to get laid?! The guy is a famous athlete millionaire in his 20ies for gods sake!

65 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

If I had a powerfull position in the NFLPA I'd make sure that some sort of guideline for suspensions was a part of the next agreement.

I suspect you're not too familiar with how collective bargaining really works. The NFLPA simply does not have the wherewithal, or for that matter the time, to try to press a non-financial issue.

80 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

This actually is a huge issue. All appeals of suspensions handed out by goodell are heard by goodell. Compare that to baseball, where an independent 3rd party hears appeals, a right which was strenuously fought for the last time the MLB had a labor renegotiation. And it is a financial one as well. If you're suspended 6 games, not only do you lose 6 months base salary, but you also lose any reasonable chance of hitting the bonus clauses in your contract (pro bowl, yards, games started, etc).

84 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

"Besides, in what world does a 2-time super bowl winning QB ever have to use force to get laid?!"

In a world where the person likes his sex forced more than he likes just consensual sex, actually. Some people get off on pain or off feeling powerful. I'm not sure why this concept that some people with power get off on feeling powerful is difficult to understand really.

63 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Show Trials: Good for Soviet Union. Good for NFL. Good for Talk Radio Blowhards. Bad for people that care more about reading about the game on the field.

EDIT: and thanks FO, for your general hands off policy about this kind of crap. This has on the field news angles like missing games, trade rumors, etc, and I'd expect to see that here, but I'm glad the moralizing and such is left to the many, many other outlets that do that for a living.

73 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Our policy -- at least, my policy, and I'm the one who links most of the XPs -- is that we link off-the-field stuff when it directly affects what's going to happen on the field of play. So I won't link the story on a player's DUI, but if the player gets suspended for that DUI, I'll link the latter story.

Also, a quick note on this thread before it gets too out of control. Obviously, because of the nature of this story, I need to relax our rules about not discussing politics. However, the rules about not launching ad hominem attacks on other posters still stands. Please abide as such. Thanks!

92 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Drawing parallels between the actions of a state with literal life and death power, and the actons of a business with the power to employ those the business believes best provide long term profit, is silly. Drawing parallels between people who were murdered for being seen as potential rivals for political power, and a rich football player who will miss six games, because a woman and her friends filed a police report which accused the football player of rape, is really silly, and perhaps offensive, in that it trivializes the murders.

157 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Will and I have disagreed in the past, but I don't see him trivializing rape. If anything, I guess you could infer than he feels murder is worse than rape, and while rape is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing, I'm in the camp that murder is indeed worse. Ruining a life is terrible; taking a life is even more terrible.

163 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Well, I appreciate the defense against the charge that I trivilized rape, but my post had nothing to do with how awful rape was compared to murder. It had to with drawing a parallel between a hugely wealthy employee's treatment at the hands of his employer, after a woman filed a police report alleging rape, and a person being forced to, under threat of death and imprisonment, for the person and/or the person's family, from a totalitarian government, partcipate in a sham trial,with wholly concocted accusations, when the totalitarian government perceives the person as being a rival for power.

148 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Show trials aren't about the sentence, they are about the media circus, the public humiliation and apology (which act to enshrine authorities POV as the only legal or rational POV), and the concentration of power within people not laws. They are about the environment they create.

Drawing parallels, even when the stakes are different, is kind of what most analysis of any kind is like is all about. If that offends you, well, I don't really care. You'll live. I'll live. The sun will still rise tomorrow. Data will continue to pass through tubes. Rape and murder will still be among the worst crimes out there.

I realize at this point I'm violating my own rules about fighting on the internet, and should have held my tongue with the first part of my post. I'm sure we'll have on the field type stuff to talk about in about 12 hours anyway.

152 Re: BREAKING NEWS: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

There is irony in pointing out to someone who has chosen the tag "obviousso" that one of the key elements of making a show trial a show trial is the fact that the accused is compelled under penalty of imprisonment or death to participate in them.

Yes, I understand that you don't care that your drawing of a parallel between a rich guy losing as much as about 40%, and likely only 25% of his yearly pay, when his employer decides that the guy's behavior is bad for business, and people who were compelled under penalty of imprisonment or death, to themselves and family, to apologize for actions, for which there was not a shred of evidence, might be offensive to the memories of the murdered. You've made that, well, obvious.

97 Re: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

After his conviction for obstructing justice -- by refusing to participate in the investigation -- Ray Lewis was indeed suspended and fined heavily by the league. As was permitted under the policies of the time, he appealed and was denied. The appeal was a monumental stupidity and a blot on the otherwise sterling personal and public reputation he has had since then.

I think that when Goodell took over, the current process of commissioner as Grand High Inquisitor -- judge, jury, and only possible route of appeal -- was installed. I may think that Roethlisberger is a pig, but this system stinks to high heaven and has since it was initiated.

102 Re: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Most people are employed at will, and if their boss decides they are a pig, they can be fired without recourse. The probable rapist has a little more leverage because he has a union, and more importantly, he has a skill-set, playing NFL qb at a very high level, that has been identified in less than a dozen people on the planet. The treatment that he is getting is quite common in this country, and really is no big deal. The people who pay you money get to have a huge say, often complete say, as to what conditions they decide to do so. If Ol' Ben doesn't like it, he can implore his union to bargain harder on these matters, or he can start his own league. I'd wish him luck, if it were not for the fact that I think it highly likely that he is the sort of creep who gets most aroused when he rapes women. Given I am the sort of ridiculous moralist who finds rape to be extraordinarily offensive, I hope, if my suspicions are accurate, that he runs his Harley into a bridge abutment at ninety miles an hour.

110 Re: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

"if it were not for the fact that I think it highly likely that he is the sort of creep who gets most aroused when he rapes women"

Way to throw completely unsubstantiated opinions out there, Will. You could at least take the time to read some of the case file (including accounts from neutral parties and Ben's entourage) before making accusations like this on public message boards.

95 Re: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Pat is probably right that acquiring the probable rapist is spinnable, depending on the team. I mean, a team like the Vikings, if they didn't have a Zombie King at the position, would have to stay away, because they are seeking a half billion in stadium subsidies, and the one thing that thus needs to be avoided is adding motivation for non football-loving voters to oppose the project. Other teams, however, only need the guy to play well, and the thing can be easily spun.

The bigger issue is the probable rapist's future behavior. If the alleged victim's account is close to accurate, this guy likes to get loaded, get women loaded, and then pick one to rape. There is a lot of reason to think that a six game suspension is not going to sufficiently motivate a guy with those impulses to change. The recidivism rate among serial rapists, at least until they are pretty old, is substantial. I'd strongly consider making a contractual demand that the guy submit to frequent testing for any intoxicant, including booze, and tell the guy that I'm only willing to pay him as long as he stays sober. Even then, I'd be pretty nervous. There's a really good chance he isn't going to change, at least not before he goes to prison.

108 Re: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

No, that part's fine too. You just say "we tried to help as much as we could, but Ben just was beyond our help, and we can't condone his actions" and toss him out. Again: Pacman Jones.

I think what Will was suggesting was that Ben's future behavior means that you wouldn't be acquiring him for very long. And that lowers his trade value, which is definitely true.

109 Re: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

I wouldn't even claim to know whether Roethlisberger is guilty of any of the things of which he's been accused, but I do find it amusing that so many people on these boards seem absolutely certain that the know the gospel truth, based on nothing more than third-hand information gleaned from various media sources whose interest in provide sensationalistic and titillating material leaves their credibility highly suspect. Clearly, no more information is needed to reach the obvious conclusion that Roethlisberger is clearly a serial rapist.

Of course, we also have the matter of the hypothetical NFL investigators and all the hypothetical evidence that they must have obtained against Roethlisberger. Never mind that they apparently failed to turn any of this iron-clad evidence over to the police. After all, who cares if there's any justice for the alleged victim, as long as the NFL has enough evidence to determine whether they've covered their butts in the PR department, right?

Oh, and of course, there's the fact that Roethlisberger himself has admitted that he has a "problem", so that obviously proves his guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt, right? I mean, if he had just denied the whole thing, everyone would have believed him, and his innocence would be clearly established, just like, for example, everyone believed Roger Clemens when he passionately denied using steroids. There's no way Ben is just trying to avoid more bad PR by acting contrite, even though he's actually innocent. No way.

And then there's the fact that "where there's smoke, there's bound to be fire", as everyone loves to say. I mean, the fact that he has been accused by "multiple" women (a whole two of 'em) clearly proves that he has to be a modern day Ted Bundy, right? It couldn't possibly be that the second girl heard about the lucrative judgment that the first girl is seeking in her civil suit and thought, "Boy, I'd like to get me some of that." Nah, no one could be that devious (unless, of course, they're a woman-hating serial rapist like Roethlisberger).

And finally, even on the off chance that the accuser is totally full of BS and he didn't actually do anything wrong, he still clearly deserves to be harshly punished, simply for being accused. After all, it's his fault, since he "put himself in a bad situation". It's just like how people who get mugged in bad neighborhoods deserve the mugging, since they put themselves in a bad situation by walking around in a bad neighborhood, right? Oddly enough, though, I haven't heard anyone who believes the woman's claims say that she deserved what happened, since she put herself in a bad situation. Oh well, I guess things are different for famous athletes. After all, they couldn't possibly be victims, right?

NOTE: For those who lack a sarcasm detector, I am NOT saying that the woman deserved to be raped (whether she was or not). I am merely pointing out that this kind of repulsive conclusion is the natural result of taking the twisted logic to its logical conclusion. In other words, if she's lying, then Ben is the victim, and it's a preposterous form of "blaming the victim" to say that he deserves to be slandered and suspended for "putting himself in a bad situation." That's the same sort of twisted logic used to make the disgusting claim that women who dress or act provocatively deserve to be raped, because "they're asking for it." That sickening claim is no different than saying that Roethlisberger deserves to be falsely accused, because he "put himself in a bad situation". He may have, but that in no way justifies treating an innocent man as if he were guilty. Of course, that assumes that he is, in fact, innocent, and as I said at the start of this post, I have no idea whether he is or not. But if he is, saying that he still deserves to be treated as if he's guilty is beyond outrageous.

113 Re: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Most people don't need to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt whether or not someone is guilty. In fact neither does the justice system, which only requires beyond a reasonable doubt, and civil cases are even less strict.

If you are somewhat sure someone you knew committed rape, even if you didn't have total proof, you would probably treat them differently, no?

If you ran a multi-billion dollar sports league that depended on PR to make money, and you were someone somewhat sure one of your employees committed rape, you would probably punish him, no?

If there were no proof at all, don't you think the league would side with Ben? Wouldn't it look better for them if Ben were innocent?

116 Re: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

The key phrase is "somewhat sure". As I stated earlier, I'm not at all sure. As is usually the case in these situations, I have no good reason to believe (or disbelieve) either Ben or his accuser. Furthermore, the one thing I do know is that the prosecutor decided that the evidence was insufficient to even file charges. Given that, I find it very hard to say that I'm at all "sure" that he did it (although I'm certainly not ruling out the possibility that he did).

As for the NFL wanting to side with Ben, they're just angry that one of their high-profile stars was caught having sex with a young woman in a public restroom. I don't think it matters much to them whether it was consensual or not.

118 Re: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

The standard for ethically filing charges is "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is the same standard for conviction (it's just the determination of the prosecutor). You shouldn't say insufficient to "even file charges" because it's the same standard as guilt.

Further, "beyond a reasonable doubt" in court is a very high standard. If it isn't met, it does not mean the person is innocent. See my above comment.

The situation was frightening, one man guards the door, another man takes an underage, drunken girl into a room, has sex with her, she sustains injuries and says she immediately says she was raped. How can you ever convict anyone of rape, if under those facts, you don't believe a woman was raped? If that happened at a party you went to and it wasn't a famous football star, you'd say that girl was raped.

120 Re: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

The reason that I say "insufficient to even file charges" is because it obviously requires less compelling evidence to file charges than it does to actually secure a conviction. You seem to be claiming that prosecutors never even bother to file charges unless they're 100% certain of getting a conviction. That's clearly false.

The situation was frightening, one man guards the door, another man takes an underage, drunken girl into a room, has sex with her, she sustains injuries and says she immediately says she was raped. How can you ever convict anyone of rape, if under those facts, you don't believe a woman was raped?

If all those facts constitute indisputable proof (as you are clearly implying), then why weren't charges filed? It's not like rape is impossible to prove. Many people have been charged and convicted of rape. But in this case, no charges were even filed, so the evidence is insufficient to say that you believe a woman was raped, unless you're basing your belief solely on the types of "evidence" that I mocked in my original post.

If that happened at a party you went to and it wasn't a famous football star, you'd say that girl was raped.

If I were an eyewitness to such behavior, indeed I would. If, on the other hand, I was on the other side of the house and only learned about the incident via rumors, speculation and hearsay, I would be a lot more hesitant to jump to conclusions. Additionally, I don't believe that anyone posting on this thread was anywhere near that bar on the night in question. But that fact hasn't stopped 90% of them from casually talking about Roethlisberger's guilt as if it were as obvious as Al Davis's senility or TO's narcissism.

121 Re: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

Charges weren't filed for two reasons. First, the girl decided not to testify, which happens a lot with rape cases. We're talking about asking a sexually assaulted woman to describe the experience in detail, in front of complete strangers, then undergo cross-examination from a lawyer trying to make her out as a liar, money-grubber, or crazy woman. I could see how a lot of people would just rather move on and try to forget it happened.

Also, they had insufficient DNA evidence to link a perpetrator to the crime. There's a number of things that could cause that to happen, some of which would exonerate Ben, but that's not a conclusive "no guilt" statement, more just a "we can't prove using DNA that he penetrated her."

123 Re: Roethlisberger Officially Suspended Six Games

The reason that I say "insufficient to even file charges" is because it obviously requires less compelling evidence to file charges than it does to actually secure a conviction. You seem to be claiming that prosecutors never even bother to file charges unless they're 100% certain of getting a conviction. That's clearly false.

The thing is, rape is an offense for which it's extremely difficult to convict a defendant if the victim is unwilling to testify, and many rape victims are (see Bryant, Kobe - in that case there was DNA evidence, the victim had bruises and other injuries consistent with sexual assault, etc. but as soon as she changed her mind about testifying (after a nice civil court payoff from Mr. Bryant), the case fell apart). All this being so, a DA is not going to file charges in a case in which is a conviction is a longshot, and in doing so drag the victim out into the limelight and subject her to all the psychological trauma that entails for victims of sexual assault, unless he has overwhelming evidence of guilt.

It's true that we don't know if Roethlisberger is technically a rapist or not. What we do know is that he's clearly a douchebag with very poor judgment (see in addition to his sex follies his adventures in helmetless motorcycle riding). who has exhibited a very troubling pattern of behavior toward women. You may be willing to give a guy like that the benefit of the doubt, but a lot of people aren't, and that's their very reasonable prerogative. As for the NFL, they have every right to suspend Roethlisberger for what most companies would unquestionably consider a fireable offense on the part of their employees.