In the case of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the two-time Super Bowl Champion violated the personal conduct policy of the league.
Goodell appeared on the Dan Patrick radio show on ESPN radio and addressed the issue with Roethlisberger.
“The issue here is with respect to a pattern of behavior and bad judgments,” Goodell said on Patrick’s radio program. “You do not have to be convicted or even charged of a crime to be able to demonstrate that you’ve violated a personal conduct policy, and reflect poorly not only on themselves, but all of their teammates, every NFL player in the league and everyone associated with the NFL. And that is what my concern is, and I have expressed that directly to Ben, obviously, and I will be making a decision as soon as I possibly can.”
Goodell’s decision will come just a week after Georgia prosecutors came to the decision to not file charges against the quarterback for an alleged sexual assault on a 20-year-old college woman in a bar in Milledgeville, Ga.
It is expected that Goodell will hand down a suspension of some sort for Roethlisberger to begin the 2010 NFL season. In addition to a suspension, Goodell could fine the quarterback or subject him to counseling sessions.
Goodell told the radio show that before making a decision, he and the league needed the necessary time to gather the appropriate information in order to make an informed decision.
“Obviously there are disputes about the facts that occurred that night, but that is something that we take very seriously, and our players should not put themselves in those positions,” Goodell remarked.
A decision on Roethlisberger is expected to be announced at some point this week.
“I make the decision when I have all the information and I’m prepared to do so,” Goodell said.
The Steeler organization is also prepared to punish their star quarterback for representing the team in poor light. Earlier this month, the team traded away Super Bowl MVP receiver Santonio Holmes after he had repeat offenses with the law.
“We were told early this morning that either you get in line or you’ll get kicked out of line — you’re going to be traded or you’re not going to be here,” stated Pittsburgh player Willie Colon. “If your conduct is going to play a part in you not being a good football player, they’re going to get rid of you.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin reportedly met with the team to discuss conduct policy off of the field, where a stern message was delivered.
“Guys took it different ways, depending on how they interpreted it, but I think … after what we’ve seen go on, there’s not going to be much tolerance for stuff around here,” defensive end Aaron Smith said.
The Steelers will try and move on from this quickly, as they prepare for the 2010 NFL season, where Online Sportsbooks have installed them as a contender to win Super Bowl XLV.