So Ben Roethlisberger has once again escaped legal prosecution. Maybe the system works and he’s got bad luck — maybe he’s just been in the wrong place at the wrong time … twice. Or maybe he’s gotten lucky. We’ll likely never know.
Steelers president Art Rooney released this statement on Monday:
“During the past few weeks I have met with Ben on a number of occasions, not only to discuss this incident, but also to discuss his commitment to making sure something like this never happens again. The Pittsburgh Steelers take the conduct of players and staff very seriously. Ben will now have to work hard to earn back the respect and trust of Steelers fans, and to live up to the leadership responsibilities we all expect of him.
“In the coming days Ben will meet with Commissioner Goodell to discuss his resolve to abide by the league’s personal conduct standards. After consultation with the Commissioner, our organization will determine the next steps in this process.”
Naturally, that leads me to believe that Roethlisberger isn’t out of hot water with either the Steelers franchise or the league. Maybe the Steelers feel they did enough, message-wise, by trading away Santonio Holmes, but that meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell will be of utmost interest.
That’s because you can be sure Goodell will use Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit district attorney Fred Bright’s comments as fuel. Here’s what Bright had to say Monday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
In answering questions, Bright said this about Roethlisberger:
“I cannot condone what he did.”
He said Roethlisberger “needs to grow up.”
He said there was “two-way sexual discussion” between Roethlisberger and the girl.
He said, “We are not condoning Mr. Roethlisberger’s actions that night. But we do not prosecute morals, we prosecute crimes.”
The whole thing smells like Roethlisberger reached a private settlement with his accuser, although we might never get the real story on that either. But those deadly comments above should give Goodell the ability to suspend Roethlisberger for simply putting himself in such a bad situation … again.
At the very least, Big Ben should be fined for looking like this during his press conference Monday evening: