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Goodell: Fans expressing support for Roethlisberger ruling

NEW YORK--NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said here Thursday that fans have expressed support to him of his decision to suspend Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

"It's been very positive that we don't accept that kind of behavior and that we're making sure the players understand the standards that we expect and they expect," Goodell said of the fans' reaction to the suspension. "I think they're gratified that we're enforcing that."

The league announced the suspension Wednesday, on the day before the NFL draft. Goodell said he made his decision when he felt it was the proper time, and the timing of the announcement was not related to the draft.

"Once I felt like I came to a conclusion of what I had to do, I felt like I had to do it," Goodell said.

Goodell spoke to a small group of reporters at Radio City Music Hall about 2-1/2 hours before the draft. He just had been outside the building, signing autographs and talking to fans lined up on the sidewalk.

Fans have volunteered their opinions about the Roethlisberger ruling, Goodell said.

"They always have opinions and they express them," Goodell said. "And that's good. You hear what they have to say. You've got to listen to your customers. You've got to listen to your fans."

Goodell said fans also seem enthusiastic about the new three-day draft format, with the first round on Thursday evening and the second and third rounds on Friday night.

"It seems like there's more of a buildup," Goodell said. "There's more drama, more interest. It's been building all week. It's been building all day today. I think people are interested in the prime time aspect of it.... Just listening to the fans' reaction, no one seems to be complaining. They're all saying, 'We love it.'... No one seemed too concerned about missing work tomorrow."

By Mark Maske  |  April 22, 2010; 5:19 PM ET  | Category:  Draft , League , Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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