Monday, April 19, 2010

12 comments MMQB Review: Pre-Draft, Pre-Roethlisberger Suspension Edition

There are 4 days until the NFL Draft starts. The draft starts on Thursday night this week because the NFL wants to make sure that a person has to sit in front of the television for 3 straight days, including Thursday night, to see which players their team chooses. It is kind of irritating. It doesn't matter either way in the end. Ratings will be high and pretty soon we will see one round per day during the week, thereby giving Chris Berman and ESPN more time to ramble on and on about completely non-important football shit they have talked about 100 times before. Anything that allows Berman to talk more is seen as a good thing at ESPN for some reason.

Today Peter King gives some of his opinions on the draft and where players will land and with which teams. We also get Peter's normal useless drivel as well. As always, everything he writes here is guaranteed to be fairly wrong come draft day. This is probably because NFL GM's use Peter as a way to divert other teams from the player they really want to pick, since Peter tends to believe whatever people say he makes a good smokescreen.

I spoke to Art Rooney II, the Steelers president and franchise caretaker since owner Dan Rooney is at work as Ambassador to Ireland, and wanted to get one thing straight: "My read of what you said in your news conference, and to the New York Times, is that you're moving forward with Ben as a Steeler.''

What? You mean the Steelers are keeping their franchise quarterback even though he has been accused of sexual assault twice in the past year? I wouldn't believe this because the Steelers are such an upstanding team that doesn't allow for players to make a mockery of the city...unless that player is really important to the team.

So unless Roethlisberger screws up again -- unlikely because of how scared he is right now, I'm told -- he'll be the quarterback of the Steelers this year.

I bet Roethisberger is really frightened, just like he was the last time he was accused of sexual assault and the other times there have been reported investigations into his actions with women. I would think if Roethlisberger got scared it would have been from the first time he was accused and cleared of this crime. So, excuse me if I am a little bit skeptical he has turned a corner.

Did anyone doubt he would be the quarterback of the Steelers this year? Was this ever really in doubt? I know there were rumors the Steelers wanted to get rid of him, but did we really believe they would?

The league handles hot-button discipline issues like this from 280 Park Avenue consistently, and I just don't think Goodell wants to cede authority to the team on such a hot-button issue. This also allows the league to rap Roethlisberger longer; the max sanction a team can mete out is four games. The league has no such limit.

After some of the details that came out last week about his behavior, I can't help but wonder if the NFL may try to suspend him longer than 4 games. Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon, get the race started for the starting quarterback spot! Or of course the Steelers could just draft Tim Tebow and automatically have a Pro Bowl quarterback.

So Roethlisberger stays a Steeler. And the league, not the team, is likely to handle the punishment.

I appreciate Peter's attempt to do some reporting here, but was there ever any doubt Roethlisberger would stay a Steeler and the NFL would handle the punishment? When has Goodell ever passed the punishment on a big player incident like this to the team? I think Goodell loves passing down the punishment and being the iron-fisted commissioner. He would never give this to the teams to do.

Does anyone really think with this coming out only a couple of weeks before the draft, the Steelers have done enough homework on a quarterback to draft one and expect that player to be better than Dixon or Batch?

There could be picketing in bucolic Latrobe this summer, at training camp. He'll get booed in his own stadium. He'll have to have cotton in his ears in every road stadium. He'll be a huge distraction to his own team. The Steelers are counting on time healing the wounds of the Steeler public. I'm not sure they're right about that. We'll see.

Time healed the wounds of the Mike Vick situation. Remember the essential non-distraction he was for the Eagles this past year? Sure, there were people picketing and booing him on the road, but probably no much more than there would have been had it just been because he was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles.

There are going to be people at the Steelers road games heckling Roethlisberger and possibly holding up signs, but these people would probably be heckling him anyway, they just have some good material now.

I know Steeler fans well. I married a Pittsburgh girl.

Well, that and Peter King has covered the NFL for over 20 years now. I really, really hope this is the reason he knows Steelers fans well, more than the fact he married a Pittsburgh girl...considering covering the NFL is his job and all. I would hope the fact being an NFL sportswriter is his career is the reason for this. Thought it doesn't shock me if he thinks he is more qualified to comment on Pittsburgh fans because he married a Pittsburgh girl.

The tenor of the fans I've spoken with goes something like this: I'll always love the Steelers, but I'll never cheer for that bum Roethlisberger again.

I think Steelers fans are completely lying. As soon as Roethlisberger wins a game with a great pass or does something else spectacular they will love him again just as much as they did before. I said I hated Gary Sheffield my entire life, then the played for the Braves and I loved him. Time heals all wounds, even in cases of sexual assault accusations.

But I'm also left thinking Roethlisberger's image might have been less sullied had he been charged with a crime. We've heard a fairly one-sided portrayal of events of the evening. An underage college girl and some friends are plied with alcohol, and Roethlisberger disappears with a totally intoxicated one, and the totally intoxicated one, who hit her head at one point, told police she remembers saying no to Roethlisberger's advances twice.

If only Ben Roethlisberger had a way to get HIS voice heard. All we have heard so far from the victim and the police report is all that Roethlisberger did wrong, but when does he get his chance to speak and refute the allegations? He needs a voice, dammit!

I'm not sure how reliable those statements should be, but it's likely the Roethlisberger side will try to let the story die and not refute anything.

I hate to say this, but if he was completely innocent he would possibly be refuting these allegations in some fashion. I am sure he hasn't commented because his behavior wasn't ideal and it is better left alone. I am not saying he is guilty or committed a crime, but there isn't much to be said. Maybe he doesn't want to bring it up, that's fine and is his right, because at this point he needs to move on. We have heard one side of the story, but Roethlisberger has the forum and ability to tell his side of the story, so excuse me if I don't feel too bad for him not having his side heard.

But in this job, I'm always uncomfortable hearing one side of a story, and the damning statements of the victim and her friends will likely be all we hear on this one. Maybe ever.

Obviously I wasn't there and I haven't really judged Roethlisberger one way or another on this issue. That's not what concerns me about him. What concerns me about him is that whether she said, "I want you go to take me in the bathroom and have sex with me" or something more salacious than that, he still went to an isolated area with an intoxicated girl and he is a public figure. That's not smart, but nor is it a crime. No matter what she said, Roethlisberger used poor judgment because of his standing as an NFL quarterback.

So for the NFL's purposes, I don't know if both sides of the story is required, because it is the judgment of Roethlisberger they are concerned about and how that judgment hasn't seemed to improve from the last time this happened. The NFL doesn't care about guilty or innocent, they care about how this makes the league look, and the basic facts don't make the NFL look good.

As for Roethlisberger, he's lucky the Steelers have a different morality standard for their star quarterback than for their Super Bowl MVP receiver.

Truer words have never been spoken in the pages of MMQB.

One last point: However it happened, and finger-pointing aside, at least two women have come forward in the last nine months and accused Roethlisberger of taking advantage of them -- in graphic, sordid detail. That's why Goodell's punishment can't just be four, six or eight games. It has to include some mandatory counseling. If Roethlisberger's serious about changing his life, there's some evidence there that he needs to change how he treats women,

It's not about how he treats women, it is a sense of entitlement he seems to have and the lack of good judgment he shows. He just can't take a drunk girl to an isolated area to have sex or do anything of that nature, even if he was drunk too. He is a celebrity and a target. Perhaps he should have more respect for women, but it is about judgment too and he just needs to quit getting himself in situations like this.

and that should include figuring out why he keeps ending up in this spot.

He is wealthy and thinks he can do what he wants. He's an athlete. That's an easy answer.

Gallery went number two overall, to Oakland, in 2004. He was a disappointment at left tackle, and eventually moved inside to guard, where he's been a good player. But not good enough to have merited the second pick in a draft, ahead of wideout Larry Fitzgerald andquarterbacks Philip Rivers and Roethlisberger, clear positions of need for the Raiders.

What about that Sean Taylor too? What a fucking bust he was!

Bulaga had a sub-par season in 2009, missing three games due to a thyroid condition and not regaining top form until Iowa's bowl game. A couple of scouts told me they're not sure he's even a first-round talent after watching Michigan's Brandon Graham abuse him on tape last fall.

These couple of scouts who told Peter this are probably planning on drafting Bulaga. They are just using Peter as a smokescreen.

I e-mailed Linda Zimmerman, wife of Dr. Z, the other day to issue a plaintive wail about the art of the mock draft. "You have to tell him to come back and do this mock NFL draft,'' I wrote, "because it is driving me out of my mind.''

It is a mock draft, not a thesis paper on significant scientific discoveries of the 16th century. You pick players and put them on teams. You are never right and no one expects you to be. Holy crap, get a grip on the importance of a mock draft.

I found myself being just as obsessive last year, and again the past few days. What I tried to do was focus on the eight or 10 things I felt good about in the mock, and building around them. Toward the end of the round, I tried to plug in players I felt would be first-rounders with the most logical team.

That's all you have to do. I wonder what would happen if Peter had to do something for his job that really mattered in the grand scheme of things? Like work the grill at a fast food restaurant or make decisions that affect more than one person? Would he have a nervous breakdown?

For the record, my mock draft is coming out Wednesday or Thursday. I haven't decided which day yet.

But beginning at 6, the NFL Network will air a red-carpet treatment of the draft that will include the league parading out many of the 75 most valuable draft choices of all time as voted on by fans at NFL.com. (Seems like a silly concept to me, the 75 most valuable draft choices -- particularly if the 199th pick in 2000, Tom Brady, isn't very high on the list, or the 82nd pick in 1979, Joe Montana.) But the NFL has lined up several of those valuable picks -- including Dan Marino and Jerry Rice -- to walk the red carpet.

I don't want to sound like an old man, but what happened to the commissioner reading out names and the players walking up to the podium and getting their picture taken? There is enough drama and hype surrounding who each team will pick already. Why does there have to be a red carpet for previous picks? It just seems incredibly stupid to me.

I like the NFL trying new ideas, but I'll miss the Saturday national holiday that the first day of the draft had become. And I also feel for West Coast viewers on the first two days of the draft. The draft begins at 4:30 local time for West Coasters on Thursday and at 3 p.m. (6 p.m. eastern) on Friday.

This is one of the dumbest parts of the whole thing to me. I remember I used to wake up and spend the entire day on Saturday watching the draft with my friends or something like that. Now viewers will either leave work early, get out of class early or get off work and watch the draft, most likely without a group of people because it takes place on fucking Thursday night. Also, I will be flipping channels like a mad man because there are television shows I like to watch on Thursday and I don't feel like taping them to watch the draft. I know I won't be the only one doing this.

I feel like the NFL has made the draft less of an event, by stretching it over three days and trying to get it to compete with other shows. I liked knowing I could set aside the weekend if I wanted to in order to watch the draft. Now I can't do that. It was nice to spend a weekend watching the NFL Draft and now the most important rounds take place before Saturday. Stupid.

"We're always trying to manage innovation vs. tradition," Coplin said. "This league has tried flex scheduling, the Pro Bowl the week before the Super Bowl and prime-time postseason games. All of those got criticism when they were announced, but all three of those ideas resulted in bigger audiences. The fans have embraced them."

The most annoying part is that it will result in higher ratings. My question is whether these ratings would have been just as high if the draft had been on Saturday and Sunday only. The NFL draft ratings were going up anyway. I don't see the problem with a Saturday-Sunday draft because it gave people time to watch it and didn't stretch out over 3 days.

"Ninety-five.''

--NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, asked on 106.7 The Fan in Washington (relayed by sportsradiointerviews.com) the percent chance that the owners will lock out the players in 2011.


I am sure Smith is not saying this because he wants to create some urgency in this situation to get a deal done. This could be partly true, but also part of the negotiating. I hope Peter realizes this.

"It's frustrating for me and it's frustrating for the other 216 guys. There are a bunch of other guys that are stuck in the same position. That's what we drew. The best thing I can do now is just go out and play football.''

--Jets running back Leon Washington, who signed his one-year, $1.8-million tender offer with New York on Thursday, meaning, in all likelihood, he'll be back with the Jets for the 2010 season. The frustration of which he speaks
has been echoed, albeit quietly, by fourth- and fifth-year free agents who do not have the ability to be unrestricted this year because of the new free-agent rules in 2010.

I bet it is frustrating to have to settle for a one-year, $1.8 million dollar tender offer instead of being able to make millions on the free agent market. If I only received a one-year tender for almost $2 million I would really be pissed off. Life is just so unfair isn't it? That's barely enough to put in the bank and then live off if you didn't work another day in your life.

Some scouts grade players down significantly, for instance, if they have 33-inch arms. Like, for instance, Iowa's Bryan Bulaga. His arms are 33 inches long. That's three-quarters of an inch shorter than the arms of Rutgers' Anthony Davis, one inch shorter than Oklahoma's Trent Williams, and 2 inches shorter than Russell Okung of Oklahoma State. Those are the top four tackles in the draft. The preferred arm length for left tackles: 34 or longer.

Let's see exactly how much it matters. The arm length of the first tackle picked in the past five drafts:


YearPlayer, SchoolNFL TeamArm length
2009Jason Smith, BaylorSt. Louis33
2008Jake Long, MichiganMiami32 7/8
2007Joe Thomas, WisconsinCleveland32
2006D'Brickashaw Ferguson, VirginiaJets35
2005Jammal Brown, OklahomaNew Orleans34

I think arm length is very overrated too. At this point though, NFL scouts are just nitpicking players and trying to find something wrong with them. It's an over-analyzation of everything about that player. What is the difference in 3/4 of an inch in length on a player's arm?

I do have to say, I am not sure if Peter King ever took a statistics class in college or not. I am pretty sure he didn't though. Peter takes this sample size of 5 players and immediately comes to a conclusion arm length doesn't matter. Wouldn't it be better to look at the top left tackles in the NFL, not just who was drafted over the last couple of years, to get this information on how important arm length is? Wouldn't that not only be a larger sample size, but a more significant sample size.

I wouldn't listen to the geniuses who say 34- or 35-inch arms are vital to the success of a left tackle because the best two young ones in the game, Thomas and Long, are sub-33.

Wouldn't it make sense to see how long the arms of the best left tackles in the game are too? I don't know if a sample size of five high draft picks over the past five years really tells me anything.

2. I think Jon Gruden should have a new reality show -- and I'm serious. "Developing Quarterbacks With an Acerbic Tongue,'' starring Gruden, Colt McCoy and Jimmy Clausen.

I think Jon Gruden should have a new reality show called, "I Am Going To Pretend To Like Everything and Everyone In An Attempt To Get Another NFL Head Coaching Job." Everything is so great and wonderful with him. Watching Monday Night Football was tough at times because he loved everything.

Jimmy Clausen, ultra-confident, also looked like a worker bee, writing down everything Gruden said. McCoy was so ticked at himself for hanging onto the ball too long on the pocket (and well he should be). Gruden was in his element, and I'd strongly recommend the network figure out some way to brand him and do these things again.

But why would ESPN use their broadcasting guys to actually help the viewer learn more about football? Isn't it better to teach them to use catch-phrases and say incredibly stupid and retardedly obvious things on the air? You don't want to hire ex-NFL coaches and players to actually analyze, they are there to be friends with current NFL players and coaches so they can get interviews.

5. I think the second-round pick that's going to be a home run, other than Colt McCoy,

I am not down on Colt McCoy, but whoever picks him is going to have a home run? I don't know if I see him as quite the home run that Peter does. Maybe I remember his performance against Nebraska too much from last year and not enough of his performances against lesser defenses.

is Golden Tate, the Notre Dame wide receiver.

It feels like every Carolina Panther fan alive is in love with this guy.

He's a legit 4.4 guy. He'd be a great get for Matt Cassel and the Chiefs at 36. He would also be reunited with his college coach, Charlie Weis, K.C.'s new offensive coordinator

I think it is questionable as to whether this is something Golden Tate would want or not. I think that if the Rams take Bradford #1, then Tate would be a good choice with the 1st pick of the 2nd round. They have to give him a group of receivers to be successful, right?

7. I think, 12 years after he was taken number two overall by San Diego, Ryan Leaf might finally be turning his life around ...

Haven't I heard this before from Leaf? Except usually it came in the form of, "I am going to work better at being a quarterback in the NFL and not be so hostile to the media," or "I really enjoy coaching and this is something I can see myself doing." For some reason I recall Ryan Leaf saying he was going to do better both as a player and as a coach...and then he didn't.

He spoke to KJR in Seattle (sent my way by sportsradiointerviews.com) about being off pain meds for the past 17 months, and he sounded like a different guy from the one lots of people in the NFL remember.

Leaf blamed much of his failure in the NFL on losing begetting more losing. "I had never lost and I didn't know how to handle it,'' he said. "I didn't handle it well. I had never lost at anything, and when we started to fail, I proceeded to act like I always had and that was to be defensive and protect myself the only way I knew how. And that was to be as defensive and as strong as possible and do everything myself. And that just doesn't work at that level.

"You just can't. You need help, you need people around you, and I totally failed at that part. I just wasn't ready to fail and I didn't know how to do it. It makes you grow up in a hurry. My wrist was done [severely injured] in four years and I couldn't compete at the level that I could anymore. But I was just so beat up. I was tired of being beat up by everybody that I just wanted to run and hide from it, because I wasn't going to be able to compete at the level I needed to compete at, and I was just tired of being beat up.''

Maybe if you weren't such a dick to everyone and a shitty NFL quarterback you wouldn't have been beat up so badly. Not knowing how to fail or not knowing how to take failure isn't a great excuse for being such a terrible quarterback. Maybe he has turned his life around, not that it really matters, but I guess we will see. Peter believes everyone when they say something, so I don't know if we can take his opinion with a grain of salt on this issue or not.

The luncheon is at Davio's at Patriot Place in Foxboro, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May 11. We're selling 30 seats for $1,000 apiece, and for that grand you'll get your picture taken with Light and Edelman, autographs galore, and some quality football talk. (Promise.)

So if there is quality football talk, does this mean Peter won't be speaking?

9. I think it is not news -- or shouldn't be -- when Jerry Jones, apparently tipsy, talks to a cellphone-toter who doesn't say he's going to publicize the Jones video. It wouldn't be for me. Now, many of you have Tweeted me or e-mailed to say, "What about the reporting of Jerry at the league meetings years ago when he was into the wine and talked about 500 coaches being able to do the job Jimmy Johnson did?''

Here's the difference between this week's story and the 16-year-old story that led to the Jones-Johnson divorce: Rick Gosselin and Ed Werder, two of the reporters who heard Jones through the firewater that night at the league meetings in Orlando in 1994, didn't report anything immediately. Rather, they went to see Jones the next morning at 9 to quiz him on the record about what he'd said, and Jones said it was all fair game.

So the guy with the cellphone should have sat down with Jerry Jones and asked him if it was fine to use that footage? Jerry Jones would have set up a meeting with this guy and actually talked to him? How come I don't believe this?

Sorry. I wasn't taught in journalism school to ambush-quote newsmakers after midnight, and after four glasses of wine. And if that's the way the business is going, I'll find something else to do, thanks.

First off, this guy wasn't a journalist. Second, there is a difference in access to the newsmaker in this situation. The guy with the cellphone can't just sit down with Jerry Jones and talk to him about these comments and whether he wants it to be on the record. Jones would not take this meeting and since the guy isn't a journalist there is really no way he can get Jones on the record or do anything in journalistic fashion (whatever that is). It was just a guy in a bar who happened to catch something Jerry Jones said.

So, let's hold the indignation for a bit over what happened and realize there is a lack of access to Jerry Jones for the cellphone guy to talk to him about what Jones said at the bar. This isn't an example of how the business of journalism is going, it is an example of a public figure who said some things in public and it got caught on camera. This guy wouldn't have access, most likely, to a sit-down with Jones over what he said and he isn't a journalist so I don't see what he owed Jones exactly.

c. How sad, the dozens of runners stranded in Europe who can't get to the starting line of the Boston Marathon this morning.

This seems really unfortunate, but I am not sure if this is exactly sad or anything. "Sad" seems like it should be reserved for semi-tragedies or deaths, not runners stranded in Europe who can't make a race. It is very unfortunate.

f. I know what I'll do first thing Thursday morning. Click on dallasnews.com and check my mock draft against Rick Gosselin's. He's fantastic. Always has been. Later check mine and Gosselin's against that of SI.com's Don Banks, who, in addition to filing his final mock late Thursday morning, will also havea mock draft of the second round on Friday morning.

Because it is going to be so easy to see how accurate Peter's draft is compared to Rick Gosselin's draft when the draft hasn't even started yet. Both of the mock drafts are pure speculation until the actual draft occurs.

Here is Gosselin's mock draft from last year.

Gosselin got 8 draft picks correct in the 1st round last year. I got 4 picks correct. Walter Football got 6 picks correct. So maybe Gosselin isn't so bad, but after the 1st 10 picks of the draft it is all a crapshoot anyway. I think Gosselin got 3 picks correct after the Top 10 picks. I am going for 10 picks correct in the draft this year. I will never get that many right.

12 comments:

KBilly said...

The ironic thing about arm length in the combine/draft is that people with longer arms tend to bench fewer reps.

So the NFL wants long armed OLs who can put up 225lbp at reps of shorter armed counterparts...

rich said...

I'm not sure how reliable those statements should be, but it's likely the Roethlisberger side will try to let the story die and not refute anything.

You know why Roethlisberger won't say a word about it? Because no matter what he says he comes out on the losing end. He took an intoxicated 20 year old girl into a bathroom. Even if he comes out and says "Ya, I took her to the bathroom where we had an insightful discussion on the works of Shakespeare" he's going to look bad.

Honestly, since everyone involved with the story has already formed their opinion in their mind, they're either going to think Roethlisberger is lying, manipulating the truth or being played by some college girl looking for a quick payday.

Really at this point, the only thing Roethlisberger can do is take the punishment the NFL (and possibly the Steelers on top of that) gives out without complaining, apologize and never say anything about it again.

For example, did Tiger Woods ever give his "side" of the story? No, he apologized and let the story run it's course and now most people don't give a crap about it.

Martin said...

Everybody else Goodell has suspended has been guilty of something. They might not have been guilty that exact time (Pac-Man for example) but unlike all the black writers on ESPN want people to believe, there had been a past offense. Pac-Man was on probation and in the process of sentencing for a probation violation when the Vegas incident happened that Goodell ruled on. Vick ruling wasn't done until after he got out of prison. Tank Johnson, Stallworth, same deal.

On the other hand, Santonio Holmes...not suspended by the commish. Violating the substance abuse policy is one thing, but he hasn't actually been suspended for actions he has taken.

Looking at all of this, I'd like to know what personal conduct policy Ben violated? The first rape accuser, if you've looked at what has come out with the emails and stuff, looks completely made up. Totally looks like someone trying to scam money out of Ben, the way that one woman tried with The Bus a few years ago. So suddenly what we have here is a pattern of 1 incident.

Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but the problem is that there is no "pattern of behaviour" or "series of incidents" for a suspension. Ben can go to the "I did nothing wrong, she's misremembering" card. At which point, is the personal conduct policy no drinkin and no wimmin? Have a meeting, make him get counseling, but with the first accusation being so horseshit false from all the things I've read and seen, if Ben wants to fight a suspension, he's got a pretty good case. One thing for sure though, there is going to be ample discussion about Goodell and what he's allowed to do in the next contract.

rich said...

Martin,

I think what Goodell has to go off of is the "you shouldn't be getting into these situations repeatedly" card.

Regardless of his actual guilt (in either case), the fact that he's had two sexual assault cases against him means that he really needs to change where he hangs out and/or who he hangs out with. Going to a college bar (that's obviously going to be loaded with underaged drinkers) is not smart.

Then the fact that Ben hasn't said anything about what happened that night and all anyone has to go off of is what is in the police reports and what is being said.

"Taking" an intoxicated 20 year old into the bathroom and using your body guards to keep people out is something that is not only incredibly disgusting, but should also be punished regardless of what actually happened in the bathroom (which is what's being debated).

He won't get a year long ban, but just looking at what's been reported, regardless of whether it was rape or not, it's entirely defensible to suspend the guy for a couple games.

Martin said...

The problem though is that "personal conduct" is in no way spelled out. This is all left up to Goodell to decide on a personal whim. Unless he wants to try and start suspending people for every single incident that makes the NFL look bad, in his eyes, there is a problem here.

James Harrison, domestic abuse...nothing. Santonio Holmes, assault on a female in an Orlando club...nothing. Dozens of guys driving with DUI, which seen under the Little and Stallworth cases, pretty damaging to the Leagues image...nothing. The most common pattern is that almost none of these guys have either been convicted yet, or plead out to some minor charge. If it's going to be suspending people for bad judgement, the league will have 120 players available this season.

What I'm pretty much saying is, that until another credible case/accuser/information comes forward, there doesn't seem to be a reason in the "Conduct policy" other then "I think some shit happened, and you're a douche, so I'm suspending you Ben." and while I find this witness far more credible, that line of reasoning didn't work out so well for the Duke Lacross case.

rich said...

Martin,

You make good points (and too well dis b de internetz after all).

I think what sets Roethlisberger apart from the other cases is:

1. Jail time. Vick and Stallworth did jail time, so I think that had to do with why they had "light sentences." We'll see how Goodell handles the Burress situation when he gets released. Little didn't do any jail time, but that also wasn't under Goodell's watch.

Additionally, Jared Allen was suspended 4 games for his DUI back in 2007 (or 2008?)

2. Investigations over. Holmes may very well see more time tacked on if they press charges. In every case Goodell has waited until the justice system was done with the player before moving in.

3. Goodell is forgiving on the first offense, not so much on the second. Again, whether or not the first charge on Roethlisberger was legit or not doesn't change the fact that this is the second sexual assault charge against him in the past year or so. So there are two possibilities: he's randomly being targeted or he's putting himself into situations where these types of things aren't immediately called out for being lies.

Had he been at a normal bar, acting like a rational human being, then that's one thing; to take a girl into the bathroom and have people block the door is on a whole different level.

So while I'd agree that it's not explicitly written out what is against the policy, the fact is can you specify things? Sexual assault - 4 games; domestic abuse - 4 games; so on. It's impossible. Each situation is different.

Now as for the Duke comparison, it's entirely possible that both charges are completely made up. I'm not discounting that possibility. However, the Duke case fell apart really quickly. As in one of the guys the accuser sad raped her wasn't even in town that day. The accuser was in no way shape or form "credible."

What the punishment should be can be debated, but Goodell has much more information on the matter, so long as he's consistent with the precedence he sets with this situation, I'm fine with it.

Summarizing: It may or may not have happened, but I still feel that it's entirely within Goodell's right to punish Roethlisberger for putting himself into these types of situations. You cannot go to a bar with underaged women and barricade yourself into the bathroom with one of them.

rich said...

On another note, I love how the owners are "locking out" the players. The terminology used in these situations always portrays the players as victims.

Guess what guys? Your employer sets the rules because they have the money. Unhappy with it, go join the USFL or the CFL.

The players can also sign the offer on the table or do what MLS did and extend the old CBA for another year. The owners have all the money and therefore the leverage, so the players have very little bargaining power.

As for Leon Washington, dude needs to have reality check. He's started 13 games in the NFL and 8 of those came in his rookie season.

He's only topped 500 yards rushing once despite the Jets being a very good running team the last couple of years.

A third string RB who relies on speed and agility coming off major knee surgery could only get 1.8M? The sheer horror. Maybe they can take some money away from the teachers to support his salary.

Bengoodfella said...

KBilly, I don't get the arm thing at all. I hadn't even thought about the irony of that. That is funny though.

Rich and Martin, as far as the conversation you guys have going...My view (which I have probably over-elaborated on), is that Roethlisberger is going to be suspended for putting himself in this situation and he probably should be if we base the punishment on how much media attention this has gotten.

I think the problem is being seen in the discussion and was mentioned previously here. There is no well-defined rule about what Roger Goodell can and can not suspend a player for. It was fine in the beginning and he ruled with an iron fist over guys like Pacman Jones. There wasn't enough cases to where people could start seeing the double standards and the occasions when a player didn't get suspended for something.

Now there is enough data and cases to see that there may be need to be a written policy. I do agree that Goodell should suspend Roethlisberger, if only because this seems to happen to him some frequency. He may be innocent, but it's the judgment that is the problem. Without a written policy though, Goodell is really going to piss off a player at some point and a player will fight it.

I say Roethlisberger should miss 4 games, but that's an arbitrary number and at some point this will become a problem. There can't be an arbitrary number of games he is suspended. So while it hurts my feelings not to take sides on this discussion, I think he should be suspended, but I am beginning to see a HUGE potential problem with "personal conduct" rules that aren't enforced in any sort of manner I can understand. Sometimes legal punishment is factored in and other times even if a player isn't convicted or charged he will be on Goodell's shit list.

If you do suspend players for bad judgment that is a slippery slope, but is there any way this can go without a punishment? This "personal conduct code" needs to get written down soon.

Leon Washington is being a cry baby. He is a 3rd string running back now and a 3rd down back at best. He needs to take his money and invest it and live off it. It is enough to do this.

I am not looking forward to this strike/lockout.

Martin said...

My problem isn't with Ben being suspended, but the system that is being implemented. The "code of conduct" isn't like the BYU Code of Shit You Can't Do Cause You're At a Mormon University. If Roger managed to get Ben to admit to something like "we had sex in the bathroom" then hell, get him on that, but as of now, all we know is that he was accused of something which can't be proven he did.

Ben's case got a lot of pub because he's a QB, black or white, on a star team in the NFL. If lots of pub is going to be a determining factor, Goodell is gonna be in a shitload of trouble when a player does fight something like this through the courts. All it's going to take is one friendly court, like say, the Minnesota court that ruled against the Star Caps suspensions, and he's going to be eating a shit sammie. Get the code of conduct codified and laid out with accompanying punishments. Ben's in accounting, they don't let him just willy nilly stuff, which is how I see the Commish handling this right now.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, I do believe you have a good point. This wasn't as much of a problem when players like Pacman and Vick got suspended because they were convicted of something. Now we have players getting potentially charged with crimes, with no following charges filed or anything, which muddies the situation.

What started as an iron-fist to clean up the league has turned into a system that has no boundaries and punishes a player for even being suspected of a crime. Because it is his second time, I think Roethlisberger should be suspended, but I am beginning to see there needs to be the outlines of a written policy.

KentAllard said...

The Byron Leftwich era begins (again) in Pittsburgh! At least they're used to a quarterback who holds on to the ball longer than normal.

I don't know if the long arms thing is really significant or not. Football scouts seem to believe it, and PK doesn't know how to do a true statistical study to find out if it's true or not.

I have some sympathy for Jones being recorded while drunk at a bar, but it goes with the territory of being rich and famous. Jones has always tried to keep himself in the limelight, as opposed to some less-visible owners, and if you do so you should be more careful about where you get drunk and what you say.

Bengoodfella said...

Looks like Leftwich is the starter for a few games now...unless Dixon gets that job.

I don't have a problem with that person making Jones' statements public. He isn't a journalist and Jones made them in a public place. They weren't that hurtful anyway.