SBD/Issue 151/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Goodell Trying To "Protect The Integrity" Of NFL In Big Ben Case

Goodell Says He Has Not Made
Decision In Roethlisberger Case

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today said he is “trying to protect the integrity of the game” regarding a possible suspension of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, as well as “make sure that our fans understand that this is not an acceptable standard and make sure that people understand what the proper standard is." Goodell: “I think everybody in the NFL understands that is the privilege of playing in the NFL. You have a privilege to play in this league and you also have a responsibility. There are a lot of people that follow you. You're a role model, whether you like it or not, and you have to conduct yourself with a high standard, and that is what I mean about protecting the shield and protecting the integrity of the game. You have a responsibility when you play in this league and you have to live up to that standard." The NFL tonight is releasing the ’10 schedule and Thursday is holding the first round of the Draft, but Goodell said he “would probably announce” any discipline of Roethlisberger once he came to a decision. Goodell: “We do have a busy week, but these are all priorities. … I've learned enough in this business: When you've reached a decision, you need to communicate that to everybody and make sure everybody understands it. There are a lot of people that are interested obviously, including all of our clubs and every player in the league and coach. So I think it's important for everyone to know when you've reached a conclusion and do it" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 4/20).

GOODELL NEEDS TO ACT: In Philadelphia, Stephen A. Smith writes Goodell needs to announce the NFL is suspending Roethlisberger "immediately, without compunction, and without any input from Roethlisberger’s employer, preferably before the NFL draft on Thursday night, specifically to avoid the appearance of any preferential treatment.” Roethlisberger “may not have sexually assaulted a 20-year-old student from a Georgia college,” but “none of it sounds innocent.” It “isn’t necessarily guilt, but it stinks to the high heavens.” It leaves a “stench on the NFL brand” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/20). In Columbus, Rob Oller writes Goodell “must act, likely with a multiple-game suspension that sends the message that poor judgment -- a euphemism for idiotic thinking -- might not be a crime but it is a punishable offense” (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 4/20). Meanwhile, CBSSPORTS.com’s Gregg Doyel wrote, “Goodell scares the hell out of me.” When Goodell unveiled his personal conduct policy in ’07, it was “new, needed, even noble.” But in recent weeks, he has “moved that line.” It is “no longer necessary that there be enough evidence of ‘violent and/or criminal activity’ for police to make an arrest or file charges,” as now an “accusation is enough” (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/18).

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