Roger Goodell's Often Harsh Suspension Rulings are Inherently Flawed

Zachary StanleyCorrespondent IAugust 30, 2010

NEW YORK - JULY 27:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers questions from the media after reinstating Michael Vick on a conditional basis on July 27, 2009 at the InterContinental Hotel in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

There is an aspect of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's current strict mode of operations that I cannot manage to understand. A missing piece, in fact.


While watching last night's preseason game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos, my brother presented me with an argument that I had thought of but neglected to pay a great deal of attention to before.


It could be because I become overexcited once the season comes around and fail to come back to earth. Anyway, the situation is something that I have seen before, and even under greater controversy than this particular game.


The bottom line is this: Why should a player that has been suspended for any number of misconducts, who supposedly brings shame to the league which leads to their certain amount of punishment, be allowed to play in a preseason game?


As Joe Buck and Troy Aikman went over Ben Roethlisberger's poise, performance, and other drive, my thoughts drifted. I wondered why Goodell and advisers allow the players that they are making examples of to take part in exhibition activities before their suspension is up.


Here is Ben Roethlisberger, starting a preseason game BEFORE the four to six games he will not be able to play at the beginning of the year, and on Fox at prime time nonetheless. How is the shame to the league being truly demonstrated to the public if Roethlisberger is able to be out there playing, getting prepared for future games, and helping his teammates?

This is only one of many other instances where suspended players have been allowed to play in preseason games.


Before the 2009-10 season, Michael Vick played in the Philadelphia Eagles' third preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also played in the fourth. Vick had just been released from jail that July after serving his felony sentence for dog fighting.


Vick had a conditional reinstatement at the time and only ended up being suspended for the first two games of last season.


Regardless of opinions on Vick and his crimes or Roethlisberger's poor extracurricular choices, It does not seem sensible that they be able to participate in on on-field activities merely because they are not games that actually count.


It appears that the team is under the greatest punishment, potentially being cost games because of their players illegal activities or poor decision. The player of course likely has a great thirst to partake in the regular season games, but they are still able to be a part of the team, take part in all team activities, and play in the preseason.


If Goodell wants to maintain a consistent stronghold during his tenure as NFL Commissioner, he needs to correct this flawed method of punishment to make it more congruent.