Four Corners: Should Roethlisberger's suspension be reduced?

August 16, 2010

He has earned a break

Ethan J. Skolnick

Sun Sentinel

The arbitrary nature of Roger Goodell's discipline should make all sports fans uncomfortable.

There seems to be little rhyme, reason or consistency to his punishment. It's all fairly random.

But if he chooses to impose an indefinite suspension — with wiggle room between the high and low limits of the athlete's absence — then he must reward the athlete for living up to whatever conditions he set. And so far, Ben Roethlisberger hasn't done anything since the suspension that would warrant keeping him out the maximum six weeks. The quarterback has expressed remorse, not only for his behavior but for the way it has impacted his relationship with Pittsburgh fans. And he hasn't done anything else that qualifies as stupid off the field ... at least nothing we know of.

So four weeks should be fine.

eskolnick@tribune.com

4 games is fair

Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

If Ben Roethlisberger indeed has walked a straight path and complied with everything NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell requested of him, then he should sit out only four games.

When Goodell suspended Roethlisberger for six games, he did so with the provision that the suspension would be reduced to four games if Roethlisberger was a good boy.

And Roethlisberger claims he has been a good boy. Unless Goodell has some information to the contrary, Roethlisberger will be allowed to return to the Steelers when they play host to the Browns on Oct. 17.

Really, this suspension was set up to only be four games because if Roethlisberger had screwed up again, he would have set himself up for even more discipline.

dpompei@tribune.com

Stick to 6, commish

Keith Groller

The Morning Call

From all accounts, Big Ben is a changed man and on his best behavior. That's great. The NFL needs Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks to set the tone since they are the face of the league.

But no, if the punishment was six games in April, it should be six now — and no amount of autograph-signing and Salvation Army dinners served should reduce it. Those are some of the nice things players should be doing all the time, not just when they're trying to impress the commish.

Roger Goodell needs to get rid of the gray area with rules and punishments. Perhaps six games were harsh from the start, especially since Roethlisberger was never arrested. But a tough message was sent, and, evidently, received. Don't soften it now.

kgroller@tribune.com

Reduction seems secure

Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

We can only know so much about the Roethlisberger case, because the specific requirements of his treatment are confidential. So, if Commissioner Roger Goodell says the quarterback has gone above and beyond in that regard, as he did last week, we should prepare for the suspension to be reduced from six to four games.

I thought the suspension was appropriate in the first place, so if the NFL thinks reducing it is the way to go, that's fine. Roethlisberger has irreparably damaged his reputation in a lot of circles and, in the eyes of many, couldn't recover that if he built 1,000 churches.

The league set up a checklist that allows him to return to football in a prescribed amount of time, and I'm fine with that. But one more of these incidents should trigger a lifetime ban from the league.

sfarmer@tribune.com

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