Roethlisberger meets with Goodell
From Mark Maske:
UPDATED (7:53 p.m.)...
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for about two hours Tuesday in New York.
The league did not announce a decision about possible disciplinary action against Roethlisberger.
The NFL's personal conduct policy empowers Goodell to discipline a player, if he deems it appropriate, even if the player is not convicted of a crime.
The meeting came one day after a district attorney in Georgia announced that he would not charge Roethlisberger with a crime based on a sexual assault allegation made against Roethlisberger by a woman last month.
Greg Aiello, the NFL's senior vice president of public relations, said in a written statement: "Commissioner Goodell met today with Ben Roethlisberger and his representatives to discuss the recent incident involving his personal conduct. In accordance with the league's Personal Conduct Policy, our office will review all the facts and follow up at the appropriate time with the Steelers and Ben."
Roethlisberger's representatives declined to comment on the meeting, which took place Tuesday afternoon at the NFL's offices.
However, Roethliberger told ESPN that the meeting was "very productive" and "it's a very serious matter, one we take serious."
The NFL's personal conduct policy says that "while criminal activity is clearly outside the scope of permissible conduct, and persons who engage in criminal activity will be subject to discipline, the standard of conduct for persons employed in the NFL is considerably higher.... Persons who fail to live up to this standard of conduct are guilty of conduct detrimental and subject to discipline, even where the conduct itself does not result in conviction of a crime."
It also appears possible that Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl winner, could be disciplined by the Steelers.
According to the Associated Press, a Pittsburgh company announced Monday that it was ending a sponsorship deal with Roethlisberger. PLB Sports had sold "Big Ben's Beef Jerky" at Pittsburgh-area supermarkets and convenience stores. The company's president, Ty Ballou, said that Roethlisberger was "falling short" of the company's standards, according to the AP.
A 20-year-old college student had accused Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting her at a Milledgeville, Ga., nightclub. Frederic D. Bright, the district attorney for the Ocmulgee judicial court, said at a news conference Monday that "the central allegation against Mr. Roethlisberger cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."
Bright also said Monday that "I know when I have a case and I know when I don't, and I do not have enough evidence to convince 12 jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Roethlisberger would be guilty of the crime of rape."
Roethlisberger also was accused in a civil lawsuit by a woman in Nevada of sexually assaulting her in a Lake Tahoe hotel room in 2008. Roethlisberger has not been charged with a crime in that case and has denied that allegation.
Roethlisberger made a public statement Monday evening in Pittsburgh but did not answer questions from reporters.
"I'd like to begin by expressing gratitude for the thorough investigation process in Georgia and the prosecutor's decision not to bring charges," Roethlisberger said at the Steelers' training facility. "I know without a doubt it was the right conclusion. I don't intend to discuss any details related to the events in Georgia and I'm happy to put this behind me and move forward. I am truly sorry for the disappointment and negative attention I have brought to my family, my teammates, coaches, the Rooneys [the owners of the Steelers] and the NFL.
"I understand that the opportunities I have been blessed with are a privilege and that much is expected of me as the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I absolutely want to be the leader this team deserves, valued in the community and a role model to kids. I have much work to do to earn this trust and I am committed to improving and showing everyone my true values. I am excited to get back to work with my teammates and I'm more determined than ever to have a great season. I intend to make my family, friends and the Steeler nation proud on all fronts. Thank you and God bless."
April 13, 2010; 5:54 PM ET
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