Though the lawyer for Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger believes that the six-game suspension imposed by Commissioner Roger Goodell will be shortened once Roethlisberger complies with the terms of his disciplinary action, Goodell pointed out on Friday that the suspension could be extended, too.
In his annual meeting with Associated Press Sports Editors, Goodell said that “the penalty still has some flexibility.”
Goodell also implied strongly that the league found in all of the various incidents involving Roethlisberger a troubling pattern of behavior, which presumably arose from the excessive consumption of alcohol.
“We go back through all the
incidents and try to understand is there is any kind of pattern, and we
have enough information to believe he’s not making sound judgments at
critical points,” Goodell said.
Roethlisberger’s profile makes matters worse for him and the league, given that his actions draw more attention than, say, the alleged sexual assault involving Colts defensive tackle Eric Foster, which largely has been ignored.
The end result? Players with a higher profile create greater damage to the NFL shield, so the price for their popularity (and high tax bracket) includes stiffer penalties if/when they find trouble.
It may not be “fair,” but it’s a reality that every big-name player must accept, whether he likes it or not.