Appeal not on Big Ben’s timetable
Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 5:21 pm
By: By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A chastened Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger accepted his six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy Monday and promised to “comply with what is asked of me — and more.”
In his first comments since the NFL handed down the penalty last week, Roethlisberger apologized to his teammates and fans for his behavior last month in a Georgia bar, where a 20-year-old college student accused him of sexual assault.
“The commissioner’s decision to suspend me speaks clearly that more is expected of me. I am accountable for the consequences of my actions. Though I have committed no crime, I regret that I have fallen short of the values instilled in me by my family,” Roethlisberger said in the statement.
Roethlisberger was cleared of charges, but commissioner Roger Goodell cracked down on one of his biggest stars because “you are held to a higher standard as an NFL player, and there is nothing about your conduct in Milledgeville (Ga.) that can remotely be described as admirable, responsible, or consistent with either the values of the league of the expectations of our fans.”
The two-time Super Bowl winner said that while it will be “devastating” to miss games, “I will not appeal the suspension and will comply with what is asked of me — and more,” he said.
“I am sorry to let down my teammates and the entire Steelers fan base. I am disappointed that I have reached this point and will not put myself in this situation again,” Roethlisberger said. “I appreciate the opportunities that I have been given in my life and will make the necessary improvements.”
Roethlisberger is the first player suspended by Goodell under the conduct policy who hasn’t been arrested or charged with a crime. Goodell said the league’s conduct policy gave him the right to impose discipline regardless of whether Roethlisberger broke the law.
“In your six years in the NFL, you have first thrilled and now disappointed a great many people,” Goodell wrote. “I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity to get your life and career back on track.”
The suspension can be reduced to four games if Roethlisberger completes an evaluation mandated by the league, any action that is mandated by that evaluation and he remains out of trouble. He can practice during training camp and play in preseason games, but cannot return to game action until at least Oct. 17.
Roethlisberger was not available Monday for further comment.