Ben Roethlisberger: Why He Doesn't Deserve a Shorter Suspension

Sam WestmorelandFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2010

Ben Roethlisberger: Why He Doesn't Deserve a Shorter Suspension

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    DENVER - AUGUST 29:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers blows a bubble on the sidelines before taking on the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 29, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Ima
    Justin Edmonds /Getty Images

    Multiple sources are reporting today that Ben Roethlisberger wants his ban reduced. Big Ben's reps plan to approach Roger Goodell Thursday and ask for a reduction of his sentence by more than the minimum two games (it was set for six, with the possibility of four). 

    But despite Big Ben's alleged good behavior, there are many who feel Ben still deserves at least four games. I'd take it a step further, and say Roethlisberger deserves the full penalty.

    Here are 10 reasons why Big Ben still deserves the full six-game suspension. 

10. Rashard Mendenhall

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 21: Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers rushes against the New York Giants during their preseason game at New Meadowlands Stadium on August 21, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Ima
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Mendenhall is a former first-round pick out of Illinois. He's a good athlete with a downhill running style. His handles could be better, but he's definitely capable of carrying this team offensively for a few weeks, if need be. 

    If Dixon or Leftwich struggle as quarterback, the Steelers will switch to a run-oriented attack that will give Mendenhall the chance to show just what he's capable of. Look for him to take full advantage. 

9. Byron Leftwich

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 21:  Byron Leftwich #4 of the Pittsburgh Steelers passes against the New York Giants during their preseason game at New Meadowlands Stadium on August 21, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    I don't know if anyone remembers this, but Byron Leftwich used to be a pretty good NFL quarterback. He's got a live arm, and he plays a style similar to Roethlisberger's. 

    Leftwich was cut in Jacksonville when the team wanted to go in a different direction, and now with good receivers he should remind people of his former stardom. 

    He's a more than adequate fill-in while Ben's gone, and even if he struggles, it's not like he's their only option at quarterback. 

8. Dennis Dixon

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 21:  Dennis Dixon #10 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass against the New York Giants during their preseason game at New Meadowlands Stadium on August 21, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Ge
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    When Dixon was drafted out of Oregon, he was a raw prospect. But he's got a good arm and is more mobile than anyone else in Pittsburgh, giving them more options offensively. 

    It looks like coach Mike Tomlin likes pure pocket passers, so Dixon will probably be the backup till Ben's back. But if Leftwich struggles, this team won't miss a beat with Dixon.

7. The Schedule's Not Too Bad

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    BALTIMORE - AUGUST 28:  Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens passes against the New York Giants at M&T Bank Stadium on August 28, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Giants 17-3. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    So the Steelers play Baltimore in Week 4. Big deal! The rest of Pittsburgh's schedule features zero playoff teams during Roethlisberger's absence. 5-1 or 4-2 is easily within reach after six weeks, regardless of who's throwing the football. 

    There is no football reason why Roethlisberger needs to come off his suspension sooner than the maximum six games. 

6. What Proof?

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    DENVER - AUGUST 29:  Quarterback Ben Rothlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the sidelines against the Denver Broncos during preseason NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 29, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    So Roethlisberger's representatives claim that Ben has been a fantastic citizen since he went under suspension (more on that in a bit). 

    Maybe he has. Maybe Goodell's right, and Ben has done everything he needs to impress him. But we haven't heard anything that Ben has done to prove he's learned his lesson. Maybe it's classes, maybe charity work, maybe Goodell's got an ankle bracelet on him that shocks him every time he goes near a college co-ed. 

    Big Ben gave us no reason to think he's capable of toning down the carousing until he got suspended. Of course he's being good then! Everyone's watching him! So why not make him be good for as long as possible, then set him loose? If he does well, it doesn't matter that he was suspended for the max; if he doesn't, you bring the hammer down. 

    But, if Goodell re-instates him early, he'd better give us a good reason why. 

5. He's Lucky It Wasn't Longer

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    PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 14:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers jokes around prior to the game with former Steeler Merril Hoge against the Detroit Lions on August 14, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Steelers won 23-7.  (Photo by
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Big Ben is whining about how long he's out for, but he should consider himself lucky that six games was all he got. 

    Let's not forget that this was the third time Roethlisberger's been in trouble with the law. The first was the Lake Tahoe hostess, although that reeks of cash grab. The third involves Boston lawyer Harry Manion's claims that he was investigating Big Ben for an "identical" case to the one in Georgia, although those allegations are still pending the completion of the investigation. 

    That's three shady scenarios involving women. Ben should keep his head down and be glad he only got four-to-six games. 

4. Roger Goodell

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  NFL Commissioner Roer Goodell speaks at the podium during the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    In his brief time as NFL commissioner, Goodell has developed a reputation as a strict disciplinarian. He comes down hard on players who violate the conduct policy, and he doesn't waver. 

    But for whatever reason, he seems to be fluctuating on how long to suspend Big Ben for. 

    If he wants his reputation to remain intact, and his efforts not to be a waste, he has to be strict on the six games. 

3. Race

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    DENVER - AUGUST 29:  Quarterback Ben Rothlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the sidelines against the Denver Broncos during preseason NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 29, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    This isn't Ben's fault. It's depressing that this conversation has to occur. But it will happen multiple times if Goodell ends the suspension early. 

    Why didn't he ever do it for black players who got in trouble? I know the situations are different, but the conversation will happen. And Goodell doesn't want to look like he's racist. So, the white player will serve his whole suspension. 

2. He's Being Punished!

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    PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 14:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up prior to the game against the Detroit Lions on August 14, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    This isn't some random suspension for no good reason. Ben Roethlisberger made big mistakes, which violated the NFL's conduct policies. He should be punished for them. 

    When you get in trouble, you can't negotiate for a lighter punishment. When you're grounded, you don't get to barter for less time being grounded! And that's what Ben is: grounded. 

    If this were real jail time, he could get time off for good behavior. But Goodell's taken on the father role, which means that when you do something wrong, you get punished, no matter how convincing your apology is. 

1. Georgia

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    Bright essentially said that Roethlisberger did it, he just couldn't prosecute.
    Bright essentially said that Roethlisberger did it, he just couldn't prosecute.

    Yes, there were no charges filed against Roethlisberger. But listen to Baldwin County District Attourney Fred Bright's press conference explaining why, and some other things come to light. 

    He refers to the young woman in question as "the victim" throughout. That wasn't an accident. 

    "I can’t prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, a crime. If I did, I would do so, and I’m admitting to you I can’t. Something may have happened, but that’s not a conviction." That tells me his gut tells him something against the law definitely happened, but the way things went down he couldn't press charges. There were numerous human errors throughout the interrogation and interview process, including officers who snapped pictures with Roethlisberger the night of the interviews. 

    He says that the girl claimed she said it wasn't OK, but Roethlisberger said it was OK, and he had sex with her. 

    She was drunk. If they had sex, which it sounds like she did, she can't give consent to have sex. That is a fact. 

    Regardless, it's clear something shady happened that Georgia night. Which is the real reason Big Ben should be sitting for six games. 

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