God Has Spoken

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seems to’ve given himself every other title, including judge, jury, and executioner, so we may as well give him that title also.  Ben Roethlisberger, guilty of having been accused of sexual misconduct twice, has been suspended for the first 6 games of the 2010 season (pardons board Goodell could opt to reduce that to 4 games).

As you can probably tell I disagree with this.  I would agree that Roethlisberger would have been in violation of the NFL’s player conduct code if he had actually raped someone as Goodell and most of the American public seems to’ve concluded that he did.  But see there is this pesky detail that law enforcement has never charged him with a crime, let alone convicted him.  All we can say Roethlisberger is guilty of for sure is having unfounded allegations levied against him.  Don’t you think if there was a strong case against him in Georgia the DA would’ve indicted him?  Convicting a two time Super Bowl champion quarterback of a serious felony is the sort of thing that makes a career.  The case was too flimsy to even try.  He didn’t even feel like bothering to charge Ben with furnishing to get the county some fine money.  And as for Andrea McNulty hardly anyone took that civil suit a year after the alleged fact seriously at the time, so why now all of a sudden does her claims qualify for making the Georgia incident a “pattern of misbehavior”?

Basically Goodell looked at the evidence and decided for himself that Ben forced himself on this college student.  Why the fuck does he have that power?  And if he does have this power, why didn’t his predecessor look at the evidence and decide what most of the public concluded for itself that Ray Lewis helped murder someone?  I would think murder is worth at least a 6 game suspension.

Was the Commish pressured to do this by black players and members of the press that wanted to make sure the white quarterback got the same treatment as the black one that was actually charged and actually convicted of dog fighting?  My personal hunch is no that Goodell just has that much of a God complex that he decides that he can look at the stack of evidence and render the conviction the DA in Georgia didn’t even want to seek even though it would not have exactly been hard to make the college coed a more sympathetic figure than the priviledged athlete.

The cruel irony in this is that Ben would’ve actually had a better chance to clear his name if he had been charged.  He would’ve gone into court and been able to present his side of the case (of course he would’ve been staring the possibility of jail time in the face too).  Now his version of events may never be known as he follows his lawyer’s obvious advice to not say much.  Now we have police reports in all their sordid detail and evidence gaps that leave a delicious layer of ambiguity so that people can make their own assumptions.  Like the Duke lacrosse players most will just assume the well-off athlete is a cad.

Now the Steelers have to decide what’s next.  They traded for Byron Leftwich presumably to either be the starter, or compete with Dennis Dixon to be the starter in Ben’s stead.  Adam Schefter is reporting the Steelers will trade Ben if someone coughs up a top 10 pick in tomorrow’s Draft 1st round (Al Davis, call on line 1).  Personally I hope they keep Ben.  He’s getting a bum rap right now and a sizeable amount of this would blow over in time if given the chance to.  Also, for what its worth he’s a franchise quarterback and those are very hard to come by.  Speaking selfishly I’m too young to remember Bradshaw.  I put up with Mark Malone and Bubby Brister and Neil O’Donnell and Mike Tomczak and Kordell Stewart and Kent Graham and Kordell again and Tommy Maddox.  I feel I have earned a few more years of non-mediocrity.

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