You’ve heard the story by now. On Monday, Peter King of Sports Illustrated included within Monday Morning Quarterback an item regarding Commissioner Roger Goodell’s determination that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger should be suspended six games, a punishment that later was reduced to four games.
Goodell said that he spoke to roughly two dozen players, and that none of them supported Roethlisberger. King assumed that Goodell was indicating that he spoke with Steelers players. Goodell later clarified his remarks, explaining that he meant non-Steelers. King officially corrected his report.
King’s assumption, though ultimately erroneous, was in our view reasonable. The latest proof in that regard comes from the mouth of coach Mike Tomlin.
“I was surprised why the Commissioner would expect 24 players who don’t play for the Steelers to support Ben,” Tomlin said, according to Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Those guys are competitors. I would imagine they would have wanted the Commissioner to throw the book at Ben. That’s funny to me.”
Tomlin’s right — why would the Commissioner (or anyone) expect players from other teams to support Roethlisberger? This thinking demonstrates the reasonableness of King’s assumption that the Commissioner was referring to Steelers players, not non-Steelers.