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Thread: Goodell's slippery Roethlisberger slope

  1. #1
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    Goodell's slippery Roethlisberger slope

    Goodell's slippery Roethlisberger slope

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said this week at the NFL owners meeting in Orlando that he'll meet with Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is currently under investigation for sexual assault, at the "appropriate time."



    What's he waiting for? Nightly updates from Nancy Grace's show?



    Certainly, I'm not making light of Roethlisberger's situation or the complicated position that Goodell finds himself in now that the quarterback for one of the NFL's most storied franchises is facing a sexual assault accusation for the second time in less than a year.



    Goodell's first public comments about Roethlisberger indicate the NFL is watching the developments in the case closely. But the commissioner's words weren't as strong as they need to be. Instead of bringing the Roethlisberger controversy down to a simmer, it remains at a boil.



    In truth, Goodell should already have met with Roethlisberger, even though the investigation into whether Roethlisberger should be charged with sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman in a Milledgeville, Ga., bar remains ongoing. And once he and Big Ben are in a room alone together, Goodell should absolutely castigate the two-time Super Bowl winner for bringing such bad publicity to his lucrative league.



    I'm aware Roethlisberger hasn't been charged with any crime and -- everyone say it with me -- is innocent until proven guilty. He has the right to defend himself against his accusers. We have no idea what Georgia investigators will uncover, or what will become of the civil suit filed against him last summer by a Lake Tahoe woman who accused him of raping her in 2008.



    In a perfect world, there would be no pressure for the commissioner to act until Roethlisberger's situation plays out completely. But in the real world, perception is what matters.



    And surely the commissioner has noticed that Roethlisberger's case is becoming a racial litmus test. Fair or not, the perception is that Goodell has been eager to punish black athletes regardless of the status of their criminal investigations; and now that a white superstar quarterback is under police investigation, a lot of people -- especially African-Americans -- are noting how patiently Goodell is behaving.



    Certainly there were factors with Adam "Pacman" Jones and Michael Vick -- the most high-profile measuring sticks of how the NFL can enforce its code of conduct -- that prompted the commissioner to dole out punishments before they were convicted in a court of law. For openers, Jones had a long history of previous arrests and other run-ins and Vick had already been indicted in his dogfighting case; Roethlisberger hasn't been charged yet. But the only factor that matters to those African-Americans keeping close tabs on the Roethlisberger case is this: The commissioner didn't wait to meet with Jones and Vick when they had criminal investigations hanging over their heads. Every time a prominent black athlete is involved in a legal situation, it seems as if the long, lawful arm of Goodell is ready to react.



    The commissioner announced Jones' season-long suspension in 2007 less than two months after he was allegedly involved in an altercation and shooting outside of a Las Vegas strip club -- which was two months before Jones was officially charged by Vegas police and a week after Goodell brought Jones into his office for one of his infamous sit-downs. Jones accepted a plea deal for the Vegas incident in November 2007, which resulted in a suspended one-year prison sentence, probation and community service.




    The commissioner wasn't wrong for punishing Jones before he had his day in court. Given Jones' extensive brushes with the law and the seriousness of the Las Vegas incident, Jones' one-year suspension was entirely appropriate. There was little doubt his reckless behavior was undermining the league's credibility and its reputation.



    Goodell, though, officially set a precedent with Jones. For the commissioner, the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.



    When Goodell suspended Jones, he wrote a letter to the troubled player that stated: "Your conduct has brought embarrassment and ridicule upon yourself, your club, and the NFL, and has damaged the reputation of players throughout the league. You have put in jeopardy an otherwise promising NFL career, and have risked both your own safety and the safety of others through your off-field actions. In each of these respects, you have engaged in conduct detrimental to the NFL and failed to live up to the standards expected of NFL players. Taken as a whole, this conduct warrants significant sanction."



    Roethlisberger might not have the same track record as Jones, but being accused of sexual assault twice in less than a year is an embarrassment not only to the Steelers, but to the entire NFL. No matter what happens with the criminal investigation or the civil case, these accusations will follow Roethlisberger forever and be used to judge the character of other NFL players.



    In the past, Goodell has made it clear that protecting the NFL's brand is his foremost concern. When Goodell barred Vick from training camp while dogfighting charges were pending against him, he wrote this to Vick: "While it is for the criminal justice system to determine your guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility as commissioner of the National Football League to determine whether your conduct, even if not criminal, nonetheless violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy."



    Given that stern position, Goodell should not only already have met with Roethlisberger, but he should already have come to the conclusion that no matter how this investigation turns out, Roethlisberger should be suspended.



    When Goodell sat Jones down for a year, he wanted to send a message that irresponsible behavior could cost an NFL player his livelihood. If Goodell doesn't schedule a meeting with Roethlisberger immediately, it feeds the perception that white NFL stars under criminal investigation are treated differently and will receive more benefit of the doubt than their black counterparts.



    Jemele Hill can be reached at jemeleespn@gmail.com.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/commenta ... ill/100326

  2. #2
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    Re: Goodell's slippery Roethlisberger slope

    Bah!

    She look like a sleestak....

  3. #3

    Re: Goodell's slippery Roethlisberger slope

    In order to make a proper judgement about the situation I would have to ask how long after the allegations was it before he met these two. Personally, I think you have throw the Jones comparison out the door. A man was paralyzed and he had a significant history with the league.

    Now, with Vick I think it gets a bit more complicated. You have a white QB and a black QB. I don't know about Vick's past...so it must not have been "significant". So, I must ask...how long after Vick was accused did it take for Goodell to have a sit down with Vick? Did he give him a week, month...more? It's been less than a month for Ben. Also, sanctions were served due to him being charged. Ben has not been charged.

    With all of that said, Goodell must acknowledge the fact that around 80% of the NFL is black. If you are going to take a strong armed approach to discipline it must be uniform. If I'm Goodell, I would have had Ben in that first week. I would have been prepared to suspend him indefinitely. Anything less is just asking for problems.

  4. #4
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    Re: Goodell's slippery Roethlisberger slope

    If I remember right, Vick had already admitted to wrongdoing before meeting with my buddy Rog.

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    Re: Goodell's slippery Roethlisberger slope

    Quote Originally Posted by stlrz d
    If I remember right, Vick had already admitted to wrongdoing before meeting with my buddy Rog.
    also, in vicks case it was already evident that the crime had been taking place at his house. The issue was ultimately, how involved was the dog killer.

    In neither jones' or vicks' cases could there have been a falsified claim solely for monitary gain.

    That is a possibility in Bens situation.

  6. #6

    Re: Goodell's slippery Roethlisberger slope

    Honestly, I didn't know alot about the situation with Vick...just dog fighting and prison. And I agree there seems to be differences. With that said, you have alot of people watching Goodell. If he was the least bit bright he would have already had Ben in his office.

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    Re: Goodell's slippery Roethlisberger slope

    I remember Joey Porter calling out Goodell on his slow hand of punishment of Matt Jones.

    PacMan had a long list of priors before the strip club shooting. Vick's people were under investigation so there was enough evidence to assume guilt. That being said, I expect a conversation between Ben and Goodell in the next few weeks if not sooner. I'm sure false SA accusations are common in the NFL. Ben having 2 on his resume really damages the brand. Goodell aleady asked the question when asked about the timeline for Ben's meeting.

  8. #8
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    Re: Goodell's slippery Roethlisberger slope

    Quote Originally Posted by feltdizz
    I remember Joey Porter calling out Goodell on his slow hand of punishment of Matt Jones.

    Maybe Joey can call out Goodell to his face this week when they talk.

  9. #9
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    Re: Goodell's slippery Roethlisberger slope

    this writer is stupid for lumping ben in with vick and ms. pacman. pacman had prior's and vick was killing dogs at his house. kind of different than being "accused" of sexual assault by a woman that was hammered but yet under the legal drinking age. ben wasnt even charged with anything from sexual assault accusation #1. goodell must be a racist. that is the only explanation. what if goodell suspended ben right now and this investigation clears ben which very well could happen. he would look pretty stupid then.

  10. #10
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    Re: Goodell's slippery Roethlisberger slope

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozey74
    Quote Originally Posted by feltdizz
    I remember Joey Porter calling out Goodell on his slow hand of punishment of Matt Jones.

    Maybe Joey can call out Goodell to his face this week when they talk.
    Classic.

    The timing was incredible.

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