The League

Robert Littal
National Blogger

Robert Littal

CEO of Black Sports Online which brings the truth in sports.

Fortunate son

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Ben Roethlisberger should consider himself lucky. Anyone who read that full police report of what happened in that Georgia nightclub knows that if the police didn't botch some things and the accuser had continued to cooperate, instead of a 4-6 game suspension he might have been looking at 4-6 years in the penitentiary.

The punishment handed out by Roger Goodell was, in my opinion, fair. The NFL players who have been chiming in that the punishment was too light (yes, I am talking to you, Shawne Merriman) need to understand that when they signed the latest collective bargaining agreement, they agreed to allow Roger Goodell to punish as he saw fit. There is no one to blame for that except the players themselves.

Roger Goodell is Zeus and he is throwing down lightning bolts on anyone who he deems is embarrassing the league in any shape, form, or fashion.

While I feel that unless someone is convicted of a crime they should not be punished by any league, the NFL has set up a system in which just being in trouble is enough to get you suspended (see: Pacman Jones).

This was not a first offense for Roethlisberger; he has shown a history of irresponsible behavior going all the way back to driving a motorcycle without a helmet or a license.
The thing that is troubling to me about the sexual allegations is that when you go through the police report and all the news stories, there are a total of four women who have made claims against Roethlisberger.

Every single one of their stories sounds similar and these women have no way of knowing each other. In the court of public opinion, that leads people to believe that at best Roethlisberger has almost no social grooming in regard to his treatment of women, and at worst he is a sexual predator; both are not what you want out of a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

It should be noted that three of the women never went to the police and the last accuser decided she didn't want to cooperate.

If anything, Goodell was a little on the light side with the punishment. I believe the only thing that saved him from a yearlong suspension is that none of the women pursued the allegations farther except for the woman who is currently seeking civil damages against him.

The punishment, under the current rules that the NFLPA collectively bargained for, does fit the crime. You simply can't be accused of "strong-arming" multiple women in less than two years and just get a slap on the wrist, not in the 2010 version of the NFL. I hope Roethlisberger takes to heart what Roger Goodell said to him in that email and gets help, because regardless of your belief of his guilt or innocence, it's clear he needs it.

By Robert Littal  |  April 21, 2010; 11:54 PM ET  | Category:  Ben Roethlisberger , Crime , NFL , Pittsburgh Steelers , Quarterbacks , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Punishment presupposes an offense. And burying it in a description of "pattern of behavior" is silly and unfair.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | April 22, 2010 12:54 PM

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