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Insider Only On the Roethlisberger Suspension: Goodell is on a maverick style sheriff power trip

His Eminence Roger Goodell has ruled. And he has decided to smite Ben Roethlisberger from up on high! With a Papal act of power, the NFL commissioner has suspended the Steeler quarterback for at least four weeks and possibly six.
Please cue the puff of smoke. Just make sure it isn’t from Santonio Holmes.
I’m just surprised Goodell didn’t wear the funny Pope hat when he made the ruling. Then again, knowing what I know about Goodell, maybe his head is too big to fit in it.
Goodell’s suspension of Roethlisberger is capricious, arbitrary, and dangerous. This guy is on a maverick sheriff power trip that needs to be stopped. The problem is the only hope to stop him is the NFL Player’s Association. Frankly, the kid in Tiananmen Square had a better chance of stopping that tank back in 1989.

Furthermore the Steeler organization is either cowardly or complicit as it relates to this ruling. The Rooney family is to be criticized as well for accepting this punishment as willingly as it is. And if they want to trade Roethlisberger anyway, then they are to be criticized for that mindset too.
That’s just moronic.
The Rooney family, the commissioner, and the Steeler fan base are all guilty of one thing. They are guilty of buying into their own crap way too much.
The public relations machine behind the NFL has sold a bill of goods that the league needs to clean up its image so much that now… it actually believes it (How did that happen?)! And so do some of the fans. Namely Steeler fans.
Because the Steelers love to put forth the image that they are above and beyond the rest the league both in terms of on field success and off field image, that the hypocycloid shield on the side of that Black and Gold helmet should be held to an even higher standard than the shield on the NFL logo.
Look, I’d prefer the Steelers and the NFL have nothing but good guys employed too. But that ain’t happening folks.
I’m perfectly ok with the fact 95% of the league’s players are clean. I can live with 5% bad guys. And yes, Roethlisberger may be a bad guy. That doesn’t make him a rapist. And suspending somebody for at least a quarter of the season for being a lout, seems more than a bit extreme to me.
Trust me, Roger, I can manage my own internal compass of how much right and wrong I can take. And like most football fans, it’s going to take a lot more than Ben Roethlisberger hooking up with a drunk girl in a bathroom to turn me off to the NFL or the Steelers.
What may turn me off to both the NFL and the Steelers for a little while, though, is ruining their 2010 season. And you may have just done that by suspending Roethlisberger for this long.
But for now, I’ll still watch and drive up those precious TV ratings. And perhaps the commissioner is too dumb to realize this, but having a few “bad guys” actually makes the league more interesting.
Does the name Ray Lewis mean anything to anybody? Is it coincidence the Steelers have five…count ‘em… five prime time games after Roethlisberger’s slated return? Somebody at NBC must find this Big Ben story pretty interesting (by the way, the Steelers don’t play at all in primetime until Ben is scheduled to come back).
You hypocrite Goodell.
At any rate, the Roethlisberger suspension seems widely supported by the Steeler fan base. In fact most Pittsburgher’s want him traded.
That’s the response I’ve gotten on my morning show. And within three hours of the suspension announcement, a Pittsburgh Post Gazette Poll saw 61% of respondents calling for a trade of Big Ben to just 39% saying: Keep him.
Translation? The Steelers and the league push the concept that the image and the values of this league and this team are more important than winning. Well, that’s a really easy sell when the NFL is as successful as it is right now. Come back to me and take that temperature again if there is a work stoppage
And it’s a really easy sell when the Steelers haven’t suffered losing season in six years. They also have two Super Bowls trophies and four playoff appearances in that time frame. Come back to me if the Steelers are 0-&-4 at the bye week and they have a three headed monster at QB between Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch, and Dennis Dixon.
Steeler fans are sanctimonious to begin with. It’s never been proven more so than now. The drunken Yinzer tailgaters are so holier than thou, they’ve actually tricked themselves into thinking they won’t be calling for Roethlisberger after Dixon’s first interception against Atlanta in the home opener September 12th.
Hundreds of thousands of Pittsburghers are calling for Ben to be traded now. Sixty-five thousand at Heinz Field will be begging for him to play in five months.
All this for a guy who hasn’t been charged… let alone convicted… of a crime. The most distasteful aspect of Goodell’s decision is that it should be clear to anyone that he is an unabashed lair.
In his letter to Roethlisberger, Goodell focused on the purchasing of alcohol for a minor as the reason why he is so angry with Ben for his “decision making.”
Also, the allegations against Roethlisberger in Reno (the Andrea McNulty case) are said to have had no impact on this decision (at least from the Steelers end of things). Goodell is an idiot if expects us to believe that. And he’s even more stupid for trying to sell it.
Goodell must think on some level or another Roethlisberger assaulted at least one of these women. There’s no way he’d suspend a star player from his league and ruin the Steelers season in April because #7 bought some shots for a 20-year old bar hopper with a DownToFornicate sticker on her shirt.
If Goodell were to suspend every NFL player in the league who has done something like that, Tim Tebow would be the only guy left in the league. He’d be playing quarterback as rookie against himself. No worries about that throwing motion now!
What’s even more ironic is this: If Goodell really does think Roethlisberger raped either or both of these women, then six games isn’t a long enough suspension.
If Ben really did that to either person, he should be thrown out of the league entirely. In fact, a mere six game suspension for Roethlisberger would be an insult to every true victim of a sex crime.
Based on the evidence in both cases, I don’t believe a rape happened in either Milledgeville or Reno.
I believe Ben is a pig. I believe Ben is a very unlikable person. I believe he did violate the league’s personal conduct policy.
Sex in a public place, serving alcohol to minors, allegedly exposing his penis through his fly, drunken photos back in 2005, encouraging over-use of alcohol. I get it. That puts the league and the Steelers in bad light. Ok, if you feel the need to sit him down for a game or two, I understand.
But six games (even four, if reduced) is asinine.
That is the act of a preening, power hungry, inconsistent, out of control commissioner who should be replaced.

About The Author

Tim Benz

TIOPS Columnist

Tim Benz can be heard on the Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network post game show and M-F 10-1 on TribLive Radio

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