Roger Goodell Fumbled Ben Roethlisberger Case….

September 03, 2010 |

Today is THE DAY …..

In an office high atop a Manhattan skyscraper, a few guys are going to get together for a rather informal conversation. They’ll review these past few months and talk about respective futures. In totality, it will probably be a positively-spirited meeting.

Yet, while this pre-planned summit was likely destined to be private and coincidental, it has turned out to be a far more significant event in the eyes of the collective football world.

I have no doubt Roger Goodell never intended to bring a “TMZ-like” atmosphere to his appointment with Ben Roethlisberger. He has conducted follow-up meetings with players involved in past disciplinary incidents and I’m sure he’ll make future efforts.

However, I would bet my HOUSE this Roethlisberger situation has taught him a valuable lesson for making future follow-up meetings a little less sensationalized.

By now, everybody has heard of Ben Roethlisberger’s drunken transgressions amid the college crowd of Milledgeville, Georgia. Some folks believe he’s a criminal, while others think he was probably just an intoxicated, misunderstood athlete. And, yet, others think his conduct fell somewhere in between the two extremes.

It’s over …. kinda

The criminal case has been closed.

Roger Goodell took punitive action.

Ben Roethlisberger absorbed the financial/reputation hit.

There is nothing left to mitigate, right? Wrong.

When the commissioner enforced the embattled quarterback’s six game suspension, he decided to leave the door ajar and reconsider the length of penalty. Honestly, I think an open-minded approach to such situations is prudent and warranted.

However, I’m not so sure Mr. Goodell should’ve been so disclosing about specific parameters of the sanctions. In doing so, he really boxed himself into a forced decision.

While he confirmed Roethlisberger would serve a six game penalty, Goodell confirmed the “possibility” of a reduction to four games with the same vigor.

Not much room for movement on the final punishment, huh?

Maybe Rog’ didn’t look at the schedule when he formulated the window of 4-6 games. That’s right, he might not have seen the word BALTIMORE next to October 3rd on the Steelers’ schedule.

Then again, maybe he did …. and it didn’t make a difference.

Regardless, he has a decision to make and announce. The finality of that decision will be wagered in his meeting with Ben Roethlisberger and Art Rooney II, this morning.

Speaking of that meeting, I’m sure plenty of cameras and microphones can be found outside NFL Headquarters today.

Enter the TMZ MOMENT …..

I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams that Roger Goodell could be seeking such exposure. It cheapens the NFL’s image on some accounts. The commissioner is handling “dirty business” today and that stuff is usually concelaed from the public eye.

So, who leaked the information on today’s meeting? Or, if wasn’t actually leaked, who made the bright decision of announcing it?

In my blogs, I make a consistent plea for clarity and transparency in most cases. However, I think disciplinary and personnel hearings should have a substantial protection of secrecy. I think all involved parties would want such a convenience.

I think it’s quite fair to suggest Roger Goodell could have handled this entire situation better. Regardless of his decision, a distinguishable group of followers will be upset. And, I think he could’ve avoided such circumstances.

If the penalty stays within the stated guidelines, the hillbillies up in Pittsburgh might just burn a Walmart to the ground. They’ve invested their hopes in a twisting of Goodell’s words in a couple interviews, including the presser at Steelers Training Camp.

Heck, he could’ve said the chances of reducing the penalty lower than four games is ONE IN A BILLION. And, the hopeful Steelers fans would suggest “so you’re saying there is a chance?”

Conversely, if Mr. Goodell chooses to shock the world and reduce the suspension to two of three games, the phones at WNST will never stop ringing after the announcement. And, every feminist group in the country will rail against him.

In the future, he would probably have alot less stress if he announces a punishment and puts it in stone. He can still expect the athlete to succeed at rehabilitation. In fact, he can demand it for the RIGHT REASON; to ensure they change as a person. Dangling a reduced penalty as a reward for those who conform has a dirty feel to it. You know what I mean?

Nevertheless, this Roethlisberger punishment and the impending fallout has become quite circus-like, and Roger Goodell’s actions are a primary reason for it.