The National Football League has suspended Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for six games for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.
Roethlisberger will not be permitted to participate in team activities until he undergoes an evaluation. If he meets with the terms laid out by the league, he will be permitted to participate in training camp and the preseason before sitting out the start of the regular season, and he could have his suspension shortened from six games to four.
“The Personal Conduct Policy makes clear that I may impose discipline ‘even where the conduct does not result in conviction of a crime’ as, for example, where the conduct ‘imposes inherent danger to the safety and well being of another person’,” Commissioner Roger Goodell stated in his letter to Roethlisberger.
“As the District Attorney concluded, the extensive investigatory record shows that you contributed to the irresponsible consumption of alcohol by purchasing (or facilitating the purchase of) alcoholic beverages for underage college students, at least some of whom were likely already intoxicated. There is no question that the excessive consumption of alcohol that evening put the students and yourself at risk. The Personal Conduct Policy also states that discipline is appropriate for conduct that ‘undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL players.’ By any measure, your conduct satisfies that standard.”
The NFL’s statement on the suspension makes clear that Goodell has closely examined Roethlisberger’s actions in Milledgeville, Georgia. But the statement does not make any mention of a pending civil suit in Nevada by another woman who claims Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her. It is not clear whether that case played into Goodell’s decision.
Goodell told Roethlisberger he will have to undergo a thorough behavioral examination by medical professionals.
“Your conduct raises sufficient concerns that I believe effective intervention now is the best step for your personal and professional welfare,” Goodell wrote in his letter to Roethlisberger.
Goodell also said he believes Roethlisberger is capable of turning his life and his football career around.
“In your six years in the NFL, you have first thrilled and now disappointed a great many people,” Goodell wrote. “I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity to get your life and career back on track.”