In a Thursday afternoon press conference regarding the status of quarterback Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, president Art Rooney II said the Steelers are prepared to impose discipline against Roethlisberger “at this point.”
The full text of the statement Rooney read has been posted at the team’s web site.
Rooney added that the punishment would come the week after the draft at the earliest, and that it would be coordinated with the league. As a result, there will be only one punishment.
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team may impose a maximum sanction of four games without pay. Rooney said that Roethlisberger has indicated a willingness to accept whatever punishment is imposed.
This development apparently means that the league will not be disciplining Roethlisberger under the Personal Conduct Policy, which means that the NFL won’t have to create a new precedent based on suspending players who has never been arrested nor charged. The Steelers have no authority to discipline a player under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.
Rooney also said that Roethlisberger was permitted to rejoin the offseason workout program after the team concluded that the quarterback was truly contrite.
“We believe that each of our players not only has a responsibility to live up to the highest standards on the field, but equally high standards off the field,” Rooney said.
It sounds good. But it’s not the standard that the team has applied in the past. Previously, the Steelers have at times used a double standard, ignoring the off-field issues of key players and swiftly cutting ties with marginal players who get in trouble. Moving forward, the Steelers must be committed to holding all players to the same standard.