Ben Roethlisberger's Six Game Suspension as Much About Roethlisberger as Goodell's Credibility
Roethlisberger is one of the faces of the game, for he's in that elite group with the likes of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady. For him to be linked to this type of behavior (guilty or not) is unacceptable and it puts the NFL in a precarious position. It's unprecedented for Commissioner Goodell to suspend a player for a crime they're not convicted of, but in Roethlisberger's case - he's been accused twice. And, the incident in Nevada isn't behind him yet either.
The suspension had to happen because the NFL and Goodell's credibility are at stake here. Had he let Roethlisberger play in week one or get away with a slap on the wrist (one or two game suspension) it would be a much bigger black eye for the league than when Bill Belichick got off with virtually no penalty a few years back for "Spy-Gate." Not to mention, Goodell opened up the floodgates for racial accusations had nothing been done to Ben Roethslisberger.
The NFL personal conduct policy states "Any Covered Person convicted of or admitting to a criminal violation (including a plea to a lesser included offense; a plea of nolo contendere or no contest; or the acceptance of a diversionary program, deferred adjudication, disposition of supervision, or similar arrangement) will be subject to discipline as determined by the Commissioner."
By this defintion, Roethlisberger shouldn't be punished as he wasn't convicted of any crime. And, he didn't admit to committing any crime. He also didn't agree to a plea bargain of any sort. Ocmulgee Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright said there wasn't sufficient evidence to prosecute Roethlisberger. This doesn't mean something didn't happen, but they just simply didn't have enough ammunition.
Ultimately Roethlisberger is guilty of stupidity and for putting himself out there.
And, for doing that he put the NFL's image in jeopardy for a second time. Thus, Goodell responded with the first suspension ever for a player not actually convicted of any crime.
That's a quantum leap for both Goodell and the NFL.