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Ben Roethlisberger's suspension reduced to 4 games by Roger Goodell

Updated 1:44 p.m.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's six-game suspension has been reduced to four games by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Goodell decided to decrease the suspension after a meeting with the quarterback at NFL headquarters Friday morning in New York. The decision, the NFL said in a statement, is "contingent on Roethlisberger continuing to adhere to the program established by our advisors and avoiding any further violations of the Personal Conduct Policy. "


"You have told me and the Steelers that you are committed to making better decisions," Goodell wrote Roethlisberger, according to the league statement. "Your actions over the past several months have been consistent with that promise and you must continue to honor that commitment."

Roethlisberger was suspended in April for six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Earlier that month, Georgia prosecutors decided not to file charges in connection with accusations by a 20-year-old college student that he sexually assaulted her.

"Commissioner Goodell informed us today that Ben Roethlisberger's suspension has been reduced to four games," Steelers President Art Rooney II said in a statement released by the team. "Ben has done a good job this summer of growing as the person that he needs to be, both on and off the field. I am confident that Ben is committed to continuing in this positive direction. As a team, our focus is now on preparing for the regular season and getting off to a good start on opening weekend."

Roethlisberger had issued no comment Friday but a report of an emotionally-charged apology to his teammates surfaced.

In a pregame address to teammates before his last game with them, Roethlisberger " broke down," Hines Ward told Steel City Insider, via CBS Sports. "The reality sets in. He's feeling the pain because now it's hitting home. ... He apologized to all the guys. It was very heartwarming. He didn't have to do it."

Roethlisberger would return to the NFL on Oct. 17, when the Steelers have a home game against Cleveland. In the interim, he is expected to work with George Whitfield Jr., a San Diego-based quarterbacks coach he has worked with in the past, in Pittsburgh.

During the suspension, the NFL statement said, Roethlisberger "cannot be at the team's practice facility, attend games, represent the club publicly in any way, have contact with any member of the coaching staff or other football operations personnel, or engage in any team football-related activities or discussions with teammates away from team facilities."

The Steelers' options for replacing Roethlisberger narrowed Thursday night when Byron Leftwich, who with Charlie Batch, an option along with Leftwich, tore his medial collateral ligament Thursday night, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

By Cindy Boren  |  September 3, 2010; 11:08 AM ET
Categories:  NFL  
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Comments

I believe it sets a real bad example to reduce his suspension.It says that the NFL doesn't care what happens to woman as long as their "STAR" players make it seem as if they are remorseful about their actions.The only thing Big Ben is remoreseful about is that he got caught(3rd time).I would have thrown him out of the league indefinatly.He should have done jail time just like me or any other "normal" citizen would have.A total double standard.

Posted by: donondrum | September 3, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I don't necessarily disagree that it's a bad thing to reduce the suspension (as the previous poster wrote), but how do you reduce the suspension before the suspension even begins. If the suspension included pre-season games it would be a different situation, however in this case the person suspended was suspended months ago, then allowed to play in pre-season games as if there was no suspension, and then is supposed to re-start his suspension. That makes no sense. If you're going to suspend the person, suspend him and don't allow him to practice or take part in pre-season games. But to reduce the regular season games suspension before it actually begins... that makes no sense.

dungarees@gmail.com

Posted by: Dungarees | September 3, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

But Mike Wise told me it'd be five games. What the heck is up with that?

Posted by: wahoo2x | September 3, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

As I understand it Ben is married. As a married man he was using his bodyguards, who were or are actually off duty cops, to solicit women for him. Then he would have forced sex, which in most states is called rape and on occasion beat them up. Now forgive me but in most places that is jail time. Ooooops I forget his is a pro athlete so he can do as he wants.

Posted by: KBlit | September 3, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone really surprised there are different rules for pro atheletes-- heck, for that matter there are ALWAYS different rules for any athelete all the way down to peewee atheletes compared to the rest of us peons.

Posted by: jmfromdc | September 3, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Roethlisberger is not married, KBlit.

Posted by: Cindy Boren | September 3, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the earlier posting, why shorten the suspension before it even begins? These guys think they can get away with enough already so at the least, why not make it a tougher lesson, not an easier lesson? If he never stumbles again, good for him, but he should pay for his mistakes, just like the rest of us.

Posted by: tojo45 | September 3, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

jmfromdc:
"Is anyone really surprised there are different rules for pro atheletes-- heck, for that matter there are ALWAYS different rules for any athelete all the way down to peewee atheletes compared to the rest of us peons."

There were no charges in this case. As is, the Commissioner suspended a player without the player having been proven guilty of anything other than perceived bad judgment. While I might think he's guilty, and I definitely agree he's used his bodyguards/security (one of which is apparently a Pennsylvania policeman) to either entice women or prevent their friends from helping the women, no charges were made; the legal system, in this case, played out, and so did the Commissioner's office.

Posted by: Dungarees | September 3, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Pretty simple , really. Goddell had to show that what Ben did was REALLY wrong while at the same time show Ben and other players that if you show contrition and demonstrate a change in behavior, you will be "rewarded " with "time off for good /improved behavior" So set the initial punishment high to send the right signal to Ben, other players, fans and the public, see if he responds and then reduce it to 4 games which is the right level.If Ben had messed up or shot his mouth off, the 6 game suspension would have stood or been increased. The commissioner wins all the way around.

Posted by: jmsbh | September 3, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Not sure why the league allows so many criminals to play. Sexual assault? It doesn't get a lot worse than that and all we're talking about is a suspension for this jerk. Most employers wouldn't give you the time of day, much less a multi-million dollar job! All told, about 20% of the league has an arrest record.

Posted by: pgcorky | September 3, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

At the time he was married. However rape is rape regardless.

Posted by: KBlit | September 3, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse


For what crime was he convicted? None...Goodell is playing god in this situation. What happened to "presumed innocent?"


Posted by: mortified469 | September 3, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm. Michael Vick dogged out dogs and went to prison plus NFL suspension. Big Ben dogged out women and got a 4 game suspension? I always knew that there was something rotten in the hollow.

Posted by: jms3rd | September 3, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

You have got to be kidding, this guy doesn't get it, he is very lucky NFL is still more interested in money than their integrity. Lets hope this kid learned his lesson along with Mike vick and the other children and they grow up to live a productive life setting better examples for the rest of us.

Posted by: Ronn_Greek | September 3, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

As I told my son, he wasn't using performance enhancing drugs while assaulting the woman so stay off the steroids. You could really get in trouble for that. As far as women are concerned, ummm... just make a good decision.

Posted by: ccaudi | September 3, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Big Ben was never married...and he was never actually convicted of rape...So not sure what all these comments are about him being a rapist are or being a criminal because he isn't according to the Law...the first trial was thrown out. The second incident never even went to trial...He may be a creep but there is no hard evidence (no pun intended) suggesting he actually raped someone...

Posted by: aarseneault06 | September 3, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

If Ben were truly contrite, he would not request or accept a reduced suspension. He brought shame to the sport, the team, and the city, but now he wants credit for behaving like a decent human being for 3 months?!

Wish they hadn't reduced the suspension because once he's back on the field, I will NOT be watching the games.

Posted by: writinron | September 3, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry. The bonehead will do something else stupid and get those games back.

Posted by: pjohn2 | September 3, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Let's see...Ray Lewis was criminally charged for obstructing a double murder investigation and got 8 games.
Jamal Lewis arranged a cocaine deal was criminally charged and convicted and lost 16 games.
Donte Stallworth killed a man driving under the influence reached a plea deal and lost 16 games.
Roethlisberger has never even been criminally charged and gets 6 reduced to 4?
He's definitely not the sharpest guy around but to get suspended when the judicial system doesn't even charge you criminally?

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | September 3, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

jms3rd ,
Vick got hammered for lying to the Feds and not for the actual dog fighting itself.
In the first incident in NV, the police refused to even investigate it since she didn't report it for over a calendar year, actually sent e-mails to friends bragging about the encounter and her extortion attempt was denied.
The second instance, the girl was in the club under-age, had a fake ID, and was well above the legal limit for intoxication.
I'm not saying Ben should win a Nobel Peace Prize for his behavior but you should put all the relevant information out there.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | September 3, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

agree. put all the information out here. i was always suspect of the girl motives when she described to the police that ben weighed exactly 241pds. really!! not around 240! Ben wasnt convicted or charged with ANY crimes!

Posted by: cpwp | September 3, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Shame on the NFL. Everyone thinks Goddell is so great but he should be consistent. How can you reduce something when it hasn't started.

Posted by: rlj611 | September 3, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

There's no way he would just walk into the Commissioner's office and feed him a line to get some time knocked of the suspension, and he's been in pretty good control before, so this should be fine.

Posted by: markfromark | September 3, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

How ironic for Mike Wise...

Posted by: MeriJ | September 3, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

What punishment did the 20 year old female college student received for being in a bar and drinking alcohol? The legal age for drinking in Georgia is 21.

Probably none!

Posted by: dtmbretire | September 3, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I applaud all of you for being so harsh on the Commissioner. But, the real criticism should be for his hap-hazard enforcement of the NFL's personal conduct policy. Eric Foster, who actually did go to court(civil court; evidence was purposely mishandled) for rape and assault, and was found guilty, served no suspension. Vince Young committed assault at a strip club on film, served no suspension. Don't get me me wrong it's well known here in Pittsburgh that he is a dick. Suspension is the appropriate course of action for Ben but, consistent enforcement is crucial.
That being said congratulation Isaac Redman you should have made the team last year. Dennis Dixon the Steeler Nation is behind you.

Posted by: pjsullivan | September 3, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Goodell let Big Ben start anew
As long as he doesn't pursue
A love life so gauche;
Now he can't encroach
On girls without further review.

News Short n' Sweet by JFD8
http://twitter.com/JFD8

Posted by: jd121 | September 3, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Having read Cindy Boren's article entitles Ben Roethlisberger's suspension reduced to 4 games by Roger Goodell,and also having read many of the comments posted regarding this subject matter by other readers.

This reader seems to believe the public does not seem to share the same opinion of Ben Roethlisberger as does Commissioner Goodell and the ownership of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now weather Ben Roethlisberger actually committed the crime of rape, as has been the subject matter within past articles, and now mentioned by many posters upon this comment board,has and is yet to be proven.

Therefore this reader feels Commissioner Goodells' reducing the suspension of six games he previously levied upon Ben Roethlisberger to four games,is sending the NFL players and the NFL Players association the wrong message.

Also there is no doubt within this readers mind,because of the Steelers recent reported injury situation and problems to their quarterback position of which have come about during the Steelers preseason.

The Steelers Ownership probably had much to say and do about creating this suspension change of which Commissioner Goodell has now levied.

Good Day.

Posted by: jtynoble | September 4, 2010 3:16 AM | Report abuse

Ben wasn't convicted of anything, yet hes serving a 4 game suspension. A young lady (underage)and yells I've been assaulted!! Sort of like the lady screams rape after the check bounces. Food for thought people.

Posted by: almelbe | September 4, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Here is what we know: Ben Roethlisberger exposed himself in an open area to a drunken 19 year old girl, then sequestered her alone in a Ladies Room while his two paid Body Guards, Pennsylvania State Troopers physically stopped her girlfriends from interfering with Roethlisberger's "date" with the drunken young lady.

The young lady told Roethlisberger to stop, but smooth Ben used his size advantage to simply ignore her and have one way sex with her She was drunk and weighs about 120 pounds, Roethlisberger is 6'5" and weighs over 250 pounds.

The DA could not bring a case because she was drunk and Roethlisberger simply used her as an accessory to his sexual pleasure and the DA was afraid that with Roethlisberger's money, he would have his attorney's violate her again on the stand.

Roethlisberger owes the girl an apology. By my definition of rape, which is that absent an actual positive consent, any forced sexual act is an assault, Roethlisberger, under the facts we know raped her.

I have contempt for Roethlisberger, but his Body Guard State Troopers and his defenders here are a combination of groupies who wish Roethlisberger would violate them, or else they are ill-informed women haters.

I hope Roethlisberger gets booed. I won't watch him willingly either on television or in person.

If Roethlisberger is not a scum-besotted bully and fake human, then he is even less than that.

Posted by: thomasjoyce | September 4, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

To posters who assert that Roethlisberger is not a rapist, they are correct, legally. He was not charged with rape, except by two women, and he was not convicted of rape, legally.

But from what we know, Roethlisberger is a bully whose state trooper body guards assisted him in using a woman in a bathroom for his own pleasure while she said she did not want to.

Roethlisberger is entitled to a presumption of innocence legally, but if we know that we he did was a despicable act of unwanted sexual assault that he gt away with because he is rich and she was young and very drunk, we do not morally have to say Roethlisberger did not do anything wrong.

Legally he is not a rapist. But by most people's definition of sexual relations requiring two consenting parties, not one very horny big guy who is flashing hos penis, his money, his entourage around a club in a small town desiring to use a girl because he needed "to get off" and a scared, frightened, drunk, isolated girl who tells him to stop and feels violated the whole time...

he sure looks like an uncharged rapist to anyon who looks at the facts.

The apology to teammates and Mr. Rooney is galling. He owes the women he flashed and the girl he climbed all over an apology.

Posted by: thomasjoyce | September 4, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

If the NFL can let murderers play in the league, then I have no problem with reducing the punishment for Big Ben. I think it stinks all the way around. At least is shows consistency in that the NFL does not care.

Posted by: fun4aday | September 4, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

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