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Posted at 1:01 PM ET, 01/31/2011

Roger Goodell on Ben Roethlisberger: 'Not a single player went to his defense'

By Cindy Boren

Updated at 11:15 p.m.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was speaking generally of NFL players and not specifically the Steelers when he said that no athletes came to Ben Roethlisberger's defense during the league's investigation into Roethlisberger's actions last summer.

Peter King and Sports Illustrated made the clarification Monday night.

Updated at 6:10 p.m.

In a press conference upon the Pittsburgh Steelers' arrival in Dallas, Ben Roethlisberger was asked about Roger Goodell's comment and said: "I know for a fact that when the commissioner came to training camp and talked, a lot of guys did. I'm thankful that my teammates are who they are and I'm really appreciative of them."

Steelers linebacker James Farrior also disagreed with Goodell's comment.

Filed at 1:01 p.m.

In an extraordinarily revealing piece in Sports Illustrated this week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell opens up to Peter King about a number of issues, but the passage guaranteed to get the most headlines concerns the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Goodell suspended Ben Roethlisberger, who was accused of sexual assault last March, for six games for conduct detrimental to the game and later reduced the suspension to four. Goodell told King he "doesn't feel any connection'' with Roethlisberger, who was not charged in the Milledgeville, Ga., incident nor in a previous one. King writes:

Not too surprising there. I'd always heard Roethlisberger felt he got railroaded on his six-game suspension that was reduced to four. But Goodell said he had "some very tough times'' with Chicago defensive tackle Tank Johnson before suspending him, and that Donte' Stallworth chafed when first told he'd be suspended for a year after a car Stallworth was driving struck a man on a Miami causeway and killed him, with the player being legally drunk at the time.
"The one thing I take a little bit of issue with is when guys tell me they're being screwed,'' Goodell said. "[Most often] they're not recognizing they have a role in it.''
Regarding Roethlisberger, Goodell said when he was investigating what to do with the quarterback, he talked to "I bet two dozen [Steeler] players ... Not one, not a single player, went to his defense. It wasn't personal in a sense, but all kinds of stories like, 'He won't sign my jersey.' ''

By Cindy Boren  | January 31, 2011; 1:01 PM ET
Categories:  NFL, Super Bowl XLV  
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Comments

No, but I'm a Steelers fan, I would have liked for him to be traded but since he is on team I'll root for him.

The Redskins are my back up team and I didn't stop rooting for them when Dexter Manley was on team.

If I was neutral and Steelers and Green Bay played I would probably root for Green Bay because of Ben. As far as I know, Green Bay doesn't have any players with similar off the field records.

Posted by: Pensfans | January 31, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

The guy is a doosh and half, the doosh's doosh, the king of all dooshes.

Beyond the sexual stuff, Roesthlisberger is famous for his boorish dooshiness around PITTSburgh, i.e., cutting in line at bars and clubs, stiffing wait staff, using the "do you know who I am" line when he doesn't get his way, etc.

It's amazing how the an area that produces great low key stars like Lemieux, Crosby (it hurts to type that), Harris, Stallworth, Swann, et. al., would put up with a cesspool of a human being like #7 but just like anyone else, all doosh #7 has to do is throw two TDs and everyone loves him again.

Posted by: playahatah | January 31, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

It is incredible that the Steelers have a starting quarterback who makes Bubby Brister look like a gentleman in comparison.

Posted by: stevenjay | January 31, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Written to the WashPost Editors: In today's Post, Cindy Boren, in her The Early Lead column, reports on a Sports Illustrated article to be released this week, just before the Super Bowl. In it, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talks about his suspension of Ben Roethlisberger earlier this season, and goes on to say that the Steeler players failed to support Big Ben when he (Goodell) interviewed them.

What Roger Goodell said, and what Sports Illustrated printed, is without a doubt the lowest type of sportsmanship, from someone who is supposed to be way above this type of horrible showmanship.

Two things come to mind: What the “dozen or so Steeler players” said to him, about their feelings of the accusations made against Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, should never have been publicly aired by Goodell. That is a breach of good manners, and even worse, is a breach of the confidentiality- - -Goodell used his position as NFL Commissioner to force the players to talk to him, and then he betrayed their confidentiality.

Secondly, with the Steelers one of the final two top teams in the United States AND this being Super Bowl week, this is a serious breach of his office for Goodell to air his private information at this time. Revealing this information to the public- - - and thereby Big Ben- - -6 days before the game, is bound to have an impact on the Steeler's team unity.

Goodell spends a lot of time censuring and fining others, and now he should be censured, and probably fined as well, by his bosses, the NFL owners.

Posted by: jackman2 | January 31, 2011 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I thought Goodell was being too nice. Phil Simms was hinting at same thing during AFC Championship. Maybe Ben has stopped hitting the college bar circuit, but everyone who owns a restaurant or bar in Pittsburgh knows this guy is still king of the d-bags.

Posted by: loux24 | January 31, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I am appalled with Roger Goodell’s comments regarding Pittsburgh Steelers’ Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger! As the NFL Commissioner, I would think he would at least make a better attempt at pretending to exhibit some sort of impartiality, which should at the very least be a requirement for him to retain his position. Never have I seen a Commissioner make such an attempt to polarize a quarterback from his own team mates, and it is inexcusable that he did it one week before their Super Bowl bid. Whether you support the Steelers or not, I would hope that NFL fans across this country would stand up against these comments, and take note that what he has done is grossly unprofessional, and highly negligible. Mr. Goodell has zero integrity, and I only wish it was possible to sanction and/or fine him for his classless and demeaning remarks.

Posted by: Kathleen222 | January 31, 2011 9:47 PM | Report abuse

If the writer was able to update this piece at 6:10pm, why didn't she update it again when Peter King was forced to make his own clarification to his original column after hearing from Roger Goodell? King was forced to report that Goodell called today to tell him that Goodell "was NOT referring to Steelers players" when he mentioned the two dozen or so players he spoke to regarding Roethlisberger. And don't blame Goodell for the timing. King had the conversation in question with Goodell weeks ago and for his own purposes, decided to release it in his column the day before Super Bowl Media Day. But the fact remains, this piece should not still be up on this website with such glaring inaccuracies.

Posted by: shoalbiz | January 31, 2011 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Goodell should be removed from office for this . His office should be the one that says " hay you can not print that now " but instead has done nothing to refout this stuff. Why did peter king wait until now to print this ? I will tell you why cause he is a dirt bag . This peter will have a hard time sitting down with any nfl player for a face to face talk cause these players will not trust him . Goodell has a problem now . He is no class act any more unprofessional . If he has any respect for the players he should resign right after the super bowl. Its time to select someone who does not have a triger finger for fines on these players. Get out Goodell your job to ruin your office has been done !

Posted by: doggydodo | February 1, 2011 7:38 AM | Report abuse

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