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New policy possibly wouldn’t have applied to Roethlisberer

Roethlisberger Getty Images

That new beefed-up policy regarding domestic violence, sexual assault, and assault and battery generally imposes real and substantial penalties, especially for a second offense.

But plenty of questions remain officially unanswered, including what precisely constitutes an offense.

ESPN has reported that an offense would arise only upon an adjudication resulting in responsibility being imposed on the player, via a conviction at trial, a guilty plea, a plea of no contest, or admission to a diversionary program.  If accurate, this means that players who aren’t criminally prosecuted will never face scrutiny.

Which means that the new policy may have not applied to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

His first offense was a lawsuit for sexual assault, filed in Nevada.  He never was arrested or charged criminally, and the case eventually was settled without an admission of guilt.  For his second offense, arising from an accusation of sexual assault in Milledgeville, Georgia, Roethlisberger never was arrested, charged, or even sued.

If, as ESPN has reported, the enhanced penalties apply only when a criminal case has been adjudicated, Roethlisberger wouldn’t have been eligible for punishment under the new policy.

That said, the league could have still found a way to impose some sort of discipline on Roethlisberger, especially in light of circumstances that potentially entailed Roethlisberger furnishing alcohol to a minor, a dynamic that the prosecutor specifically acknowledged in announcing that no charges would be filed.

Ultimately, the league will address and any all situations on a case-by-case basis, finding a way to impose discipline if it believes discipline is warranted.  But the strict penalties (especially the minimum one-year ban for a second offense) apply only if there are two adjudications that result in responsibility for domestic violence, sexual assault, assault, or battery.  If a player can avoid such an outcome — either by fighting the charges through to a verdict or by settling all claims with the alleged victim via the transfer of a large bag with a dollar sign on it — the new policy won’t apply.

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46 Responses to “New policy possibly wouldn’t have applied to Roethlisberer”
  1. dietrich43 says: Aug 29, 2014 11:01 AM

    So, all the rich athletes will just settle out of court with their victim and get them to drop charges. Justice!

  2. jtbsteeler says: Aug 29, 2014 11:02 AM

    This is the Ray Rice rule. Don’t involve Big Ben in this. He served out his punishment. And it was a lengthy one.

  3. harrisonhits2 says: Aug 29, 2014 11:05 AM

    So you’re saying if a player buys the woman off he won’t get disciplined by the league.

    Hope those girls got a lot of money from Ben.

  4. steelcurtainn says: Aug 29, 2014 11:06 AM

    Why should you be punished for a crime you never committed? Never arrested nor charged.

  5. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Aug 29, 2014 11:06 AM

    Goodell’s decision against Ray Rice was an under-reaction to a legit reason.

    Goodell’s decision against Ben Roethlisberger was an over-reaction to an iffy “reason.”

    Goodell is consistently inconsistent.

    One thing that is consistent with Goodell is he fails to recognize what is or isn’t intentional, what is or isn’t unavoidable, fails to recognize what actually happens on a playing field, and he often bows to public pressure.

    And he thinks we’re so dumb that his token gesture to make one dollar a year during labor negotiations was a really meaningful commitment.

  6. misterfuji1982 says: Aug 29, 2014 11:10 AM

    Goodell’s “personal conduct policy” has created controversy and bad publicity that no other sports league suffers from.

  7. magicmtndan says: Aug 29, 2014 11:25 AM

    I know Ben is an easy and big target for all the haters.

    But Ben was screwed by Goodell and the NFL getting a 6 game suspension for “conduct detrimental to the league” (later reduced to 4 games). Screwed!

    More games lost than Ray Rice. 4 games lost with no court rulings. 4 games lost for what?!

    There is no consistency with regard to rules and punishment. It’s all arbitrary and it’s controlled by King Goodell and his minions.

    King Goodell is indeed judge, jury and executioner and the players have been screwed and will continue to be screwed by him and the owners under this CBA.

  8. karlton3 says: Aug 29, 2014 11:25 AM

    The notions and operations of 1) a policy and 2) handling things on a case-by-case basis are diametrically opposed to one another.

  9. ariani1985 says: Aug 29, 2014 11:29 AM

    Big ben and trouble go together like bees and honey

  10. floratiotime says: Aug 29, 2014 11:30 AM

    Wealthy, famous people always get off. Like they say in the pledge … “Liberty and Justice for the Rich”.

  11. skoalbrother says: Aug 29, 2014 11:38 AM

    From this point on please refer to the new domestic violence rules as the “Roethlisberger / Rice Rules” you know, like “Tommy John Surgery” I believe that the 2 players mentioned received ridiculously low suspensions and should be discussed forever.

  12. citizenstrange says: Aug 29, 2014 11:57 AM

    It is always a slippery slope when you choose to ignore due process. I could accuse an NFL player of assaulting me and the police could say get lost he wasn’t within 1,000 miles of you but then if I accuse him again it’s the second strike and then the third and so forth.

  13. titaniksigh says: Aug 29, 2014 12:01 PM

    Couldn’t agree more skoalbrother. Ben didn’t admit guilt, but he paid a woman off. If you accuse me of doing something I didn’t do, I’m not gonna give you a damn dollar! Settlements are, for all intents and purposes, an admission of some amount of guilt. And this is not an “I hate the Steelers and Ravens” rant. I hate the Colts, but Manning or Luck would never be involved in anything like this because they’re good people. This is based on the fact that I have 2 daughters, and if they were victims of abuse or assault by a celebrity, their had better be some discipline and justice.

  14. knon2000 says: Aug 29, 2014 12:05 PM

    Funny how the truth is stated as plain as day. Ben was never arrested, charged, or even sued for the second “offense” yet people constantly comment on that as being FACT. Yeah, like he wasn’t a target for someone.
    Anyway, I am glad that it was pointed out that he wasn’t even sued. That point alone exempts him from the contempt shown by bitter haters.
    If he actually “attacked” the second woman sexually as so many haters keep saying, why would she never, EVER seek some sort of justice?
    Probably because it NEVER happened, right???
    The guy got suspended for 6 games for a FALSE accusation, that was almost immediately recanted by the accuser. An accuser that was not promptly married by him, I might add.
    This is the Ray Rice rule. Not the Ben/Ray rule

  15. reasonableminds412 says: Aug 29, 2014 12:34 PM

    You cannot settle a criminal lawsuit with the victim. A settlement of a civil lawsuit does not equate to an admission of guilt for a crime. People settle frivolous lawsuits all the time for various reasons, usually because the cost of defense counsel outweighs the demand of the Plaintiff. If there was evidence Ben committed any crime he would have been charged by the local DA in Georgia and/or Nevada, just like Rice was charged in Maryland. However, without such evidence all we have are accusations. I hope you agree that accusations do not equate to crimes.

  16. steelerben says: Aug 29, 2014 1:05 PM

    @titaniksigh: to your assertation that Manning would never engage in activities like this I would suggest you google: Jamie Ann Naughright aka Jamie Whited

  17. thehorsecavalry says: Aug 29, 2014 1:09 PM

    Some of these athletes are big boys. They get revved up for a game and afterwards it takes time medication and an ice bath to cool down, literally. Which I have no problem with cooling them down etc. Some of these guys don’t responsibly ‘cool down’ and find themselves in an unfamiliar city, rocked out of their compression hose and require emotional outlet. When that isn’t available bad thing happen, especially to women, wives, girlfriends etc.

    When crimes of passion, let’s be serious, when crimes occur it’s all about emotion, passion, anger and depression. The big guys have a lot of emotion to get out.

    When you are in the public eye, no matter who you are, someone is watching. Big brother has arrived on the planet. If you screw up, they know, the camera’s watch, peepers, cell phones.

  18. toaster463 says: Aug 29, 2014 1:11 PM

    How can Roger Goodell be the appeals judge of his own rulings, when he wont even reverse a punishment that he thinks is wrong?

    Isnt that the point of appeals, to fix the judgement if its wrong? But Goodell wont reverse himself even when he knows he got it wrong. How can he be possibly trusted to hear appeals?

  19. shortbus007 says: Aug 29, 2014 1:20 PM

    I’m confused as to why Ben’s name is even being brought up in this? How long ago were the allegations against him? 4, 5 years ago? There was no evidence (video/pictures) more importantly no charges and who knows what the “settlement” was? He got a 4 game suspension for being accused. There is video evidence of Ray Rice playing Mike Tyson’s punchout on his girlfriends face and he gets 2 games? So back to my initial question, why is Big Ben being mentioned?

    Why not Greg Hardy’s name? Or Adam Jones who in June of 2013 was Arrested and jailed on an assault charge after police said he hit a woman at a downtown Cincinnati nightclub. Or Daryl Washington who in June of 2013 was Arrested for assault after an argument with an ex-girlfriend in her Phoenix apartment. Or Leroy Hill who in January of 2013 was Arrested on two felony counts of domestic violence stemming from an alleged incident with his girlfriend in his Issaquah home. OR Dez Bryant who in July of 2012 was Arrested on a misdemeanor family violence charge in DeSoto, Texas, after his mother called 911 and said her son had hit her.

    Or Better yet, HOW IS Aldon Smith still eligible to play after being Charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, stemming from a party at his home in June 2012. Arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession after he crashed his pickup truck into a tree. Let not forget about April of 2014 when he was Arrested at Los Angeles International Airport after he allegedly became belligerent during a security screening and said he had a bomb.

  20. bobzilla1001 says: Aug 29, 2014 1:26 PM

    The innuendoes around Pittsburgh were that the Rooneys requested Roethlisberger’s suspension because they and others believed he was headed down the wrong path. Those concerns were based on his bad public behavior long before his visit to Milledgeville.

  21. philsimmsisadouche says: Aug 29, 2014 1:42 PM

    Furnished alcohol to a minor? C’mon , Mike! He bought drinks for a woman he met in a bar. It wasn’t his job to card her first. It was the responsibility of the multiple establishments inside which he interacted with her.
    Troll Steelers fans for page hits much?

  22. Nofoolnodrool says: Aug 29, 2014 2:10 PM

    bobzilla1001 says:
    Aug 29, 2014 1:26 PM
    The innuendoes around Pittsburgh were that the Rooneys requested Roethlisberger’s suspension because they and others believed he was headed down the wrong path. Those concerns were based on his bad public behavior long before his visit to Milledgeville.

    1 0
    Report comment. I guess you have to be very important to hear the innuendoes that close to the Rooneys? Were you picking thru their trash or did you hear some rumors to support your claim?

  23. clashpoint says: Aug 29, 2014 2:27 PM

    Thank you! Every Steelers post, some stooge calls Ben a rapist and every time it ticks me off. In the first case, under the new rules, he might have had to fight the allegations to the bitter end. That’s expensive but better than the alternative.

    I remember when innocent until proven guilty meant something. It means nothing in the court of public opinion though.

  24. siggy00 says: Aug 29, 2014 2:30 PM

    Goodell made up rules to suspend Ben.

    August 30th, 2011

    It’s official – Brandon Marshall will not face any discipline from the NFL for his off-field incident this past April.

    NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said that since no charges were filed in the incident, Marshall is not subject to discipline under the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
    ______________

    Now correct me if I’m wrong but Mr. Roethlisberger was not charged, right?

    Mr. Roethlisberger plays in the same league as Brandon Marshall, right?

    So how can Marshall not be subject to PCP discipline, but Ben Roethlisberger was, when BOTH were never charged?

    No one has ever asked Goodell about this, and specifically about Aiello’s quote in regards to Ben.

    Why?

    Do you fish wraps fear him that much?

    Disgusting.

  25. tk1966 says: Aug 29, 2014 2:31 PM

    titaniksigh says:
    Aug 29, 2014 12:01 PM
    Couldn’t agree more skoalbrother. Ben didn’t admit guilt, but he paid a woman off. If you accuse me of doing something I didn’t do, I’m not gonna give you a damn dollar! Settlements are, for all intents and purposes, an admission of some amount of guilt.

    Its very easy to sit on the sidelines and say “I would” or “I wouldn’t”. But the reality of it is sometimes it is easier, and smarter, to just pay some cash and make the whole thing go away. The exact dollar figure paid to the accuser is unknown, but was probably pocket change to Roethlisberger. And before you say that you’d rather go to court to defend your innocence, remember that a jury does not always get the verdict right (just ask OJ). Better to pay than, if innocent, end up in jail because of a bad decision by a jury.

  26. siggy00 says: Aug 29, 2014 2:33 PM

    “That said, the league could have still found a way to impose some sort of discipline on Roethlisberger, especially in light of circumstances that potentially entailed Roethlisberger furnishing alcohol to a minor,”

    Mr. Florio, she was not a minor, what she was is an under-aged drinker. You are an adult at 18 in this country.

    I look forward to your apology in print on this website, the same way you lied about Ben.

    Good day.

  27. scw1993 says: Aug 29, 2014 2:54 PM

    Not a Steelers fan at all….but this is absolutely the Ray Rice Rule, not the Ben Rule….because if you really want to include a player in putting a face to this, name it the Peyton Manning sexually- harassing- a- female- trainer rule…look it up. Roethlisberger was given a 6 game suspension and wasn’t charged with anything.

  28. gofor2with3pointlead says: Aug 29, 2014 3:29 PM

    If you think Roethlisberger is completely innocent of the accusations levied, by all means, begin a fund to compensate him for his trouble. Roethlisberger seems to have matured and doesn’t find himself in those “situations” anymore but that doesn’t give him a pass. If the skeletons in your closet begin to make a little racket, one, don’t create skeletons or two you should have taken the time to bury them with a shovel and buried the shovel.

  29. siggy00 says: Aug 29, 2014 3:45 PM

    What makes Ben guilty?

    The negative DNA/rape kit in Georgia?

    Or

    Andrea McNulty being so traumatized by Ben in Reno that she went out to dinner with him the next night?

    By all means, clue us all in.

  30. gofor2with3pointlead says: Aug 29, 2014 3:48 PM

    I don’t recommend holding your breath siggy. If you want to split hairs, you’re still semantically incorrect. In the instance of alcohol, one is considered to be a minor until the age of 21, under the age of 18 one is considered to be a juvenile. The age of consent can vary from state to state as well as the preferred nomenclature, however regardless of the amount of variables the axioms themselves remain the same. Don’t offer to provide alcohol to someone of questionable age. How tough is that?

  31. gofor2with3pointlead says: Aug 29, 2014 3:59 PM

    Well from what evidence you’ve offered, he certainly didn’t have an alibi. Opportunity and motive are now established, all you need for the trifecta is a confession. Thanks for playing though

  32. gofor2with3pointlead says: Aug 29, 2014 4:06 PM

    Not sure what planet a Roethlisberger apologist would hail from but in what galaxy does everyone get the same treatment, discipline, sanction, outcome?

  33. siggy00 says: Aug 29, 2014 4:07 PM

    “Don’t offer to provide alcohol to someone of questionable age. How tough is that?”

    The rounds were brought in by a bar maid, and the women (who WERE breaking the law that night with their fake ID’s) helped themselves to the drinks on the tray.

    How that became Ben Roethlisberger’s responsibility only Roger Goodell’s warped mind knows.

  34. Nofoolnodrool says: Aug 29, 2014 4:16 PM

    Not sure what planet a Roethlisberger apologist would hail from but in what galaxy does everyone get the same treatment, discipline, sanction, outcome?

    0 0
    Report comment. If you and a skunk were lying in the road and approached by a car who would have skids marks in front of them and why? The skunk because judging from your willingness to split hairs and argue for the sake of arguing ……you are a lawyer…hence the lack of skid marks. And professor you have no dog in this fight so take break and let us fans converse in our simple way. Thanks

  35. gofor2with3pointlead says: Aug 29, 2014 4:18 PM

    Did Roethlisberger pay for the drinks or were they complimentary from the establishment? Although it appears you profess to have some extensive knowledge of the incident, this is not clear by your account.

  36. gofor2with3pointlead says: Aug 29, 2014 4:35 PM

    While siggy is gathering himself. I didn’t address anyone in particular in my first post so if you choose to label me a troll that is your prerogative. When someone singles me out, they’ll get what I feel they deserve, which is my right. If PFT chooses to delete my comments they have that authority. If that’s what passes for clever where your from Nofool, you have my sympathies.

  37. reasonableminds412 says: Aug 29, 2014 4:54 PM

    Gofor2, it is my understanding that Ben bought drinks for the bar and had a bar employer distribute those drinks to other bar patrons. Under these circumstances the onus is on the bar to ensure the drinks are not served to anyone under the age of 21. I assume you agree.

  38. samsonight1010 says: Aug 29, 2014 4:55 PM

    Of course not, he plays for that garbage franchise that’s protected by the nfl

  39. reasonableminds412 says: Aug 29, 2014 4:57 PM

    Ben doesn’t play for the Patriots

  40. clashpoint says: Aug 29, 2014 5:02 PM

    Gofor, you’re reaching. It is the establishment’s responsibility to make sure that all patrons are of legal age, not the patrons themselves.

    As far as Ben’s first accusation, the woman’s forget co-workers signed depositions saying she told them she wanted to have his baby. She was not going to win anything, but civil cases can go on for years anyway. At some point it became cheaper to make it go away than to continue it to the end, which would have been an even longer time coming.

    That people still even accuse Ben of being guilty shows just how far desperate trolls will go lol.

    Thanks again for this post. I’ll just reference it next time there’s a Stellar post with “Ben is a rapist” silliness in the comments :)

  41. contract says: Aug 29, 2014 5:21 PM

    It’s amazing … Ray Rice beats the garbage out of his girlfriend, and it’s Ben getting dragged through the mud again.

    It must be great to be a Raven.

  42. gofor2with3pointlead says: Aug 29, 2014 5:28 PM

    Put yourself in Roethlisberger’s position. You feel like king pinning, you choose a bar near a college campus, you know, because of the intellectual stimulation and because no one ever got into one of those bars with a fake I.D. So you buy “drinks for the bar”. Was the lady in question several tables away, because now that’s what your trying to make it sound like, or was she at Roethlisberger’s table? You see what I’m getting at here, it doesn’t make any sense to try and buy a pretty young lady a drink, and then try to disassociate yourself from any other interaction. While I would agree, legally it is the establishments responsibility not to serve those under age. Given that your a professional athlete, you trust that the liquor control board isn’t running a sting? Because I live relatively close to a state line and both states are notorious for sending under age people into bars and stores to buy alcohol. I’m 48 yrs old and even at a bar where I know the owner personally, they check I.D.

  43. Nofoolnodrool says: Aug 29, 2014 5:29 PM

    From where I am from people have a sense of humor and tolerate stuffed shirts by ignoring them. If you knew anything about the case you wouldn’t be acting the pompous fool. Thanks I do accept your sympathies as I get they are rarely granted.

  44. gofor2with3pointlead says: Aug 29, 2014 5:39 PM

    Why don’t you take your own advice then fool and ignore me.

  45. siggy00 says: Aug 29, 2014 5:40 PM

    “Did Roethlisberger pay for the drinks or were they complimentary from the establishment?”

    Ben’s lawyer David Cornwell was on ESPN radio and he specifically said that Ben didn’t pay for the alcohol that night.

    No will answer this 1 simple question below:

    How is Ben subject to PCP discipline, when he was never charged with a crime, and Brandon Marshall wasn’t?

  46. gofor2with3pointlead says: Aug 29, 2014 5:46 PM

    Has the NFL established a limit on how far in the past you may have had any contact with law enforcement before you can be nominated for The Walter Payton Man of the Year award. There appears to be an itch that needs scratchin.

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