(judge, jury, executioner, and most importantly, CEO. Ladies and gentlemen, Commissioner Aaron Eckhart)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell today suspended Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger for the first 6 games of the 2010 season, the move coming on the heels of repeated allegations — thus far unproven — of sexual assault by the two-time Super Bowl champion. That the league would censure Big Ben for violating their Code Of Conduct policy rather than actually breaking a law is hardly without precedent, however, Sports On My Mind’s dwil claims the NFL’s broadcast partners were previously tipped off as the nature of Roethlisberger’s unpaid vacation.
It was surmised earlier here at SOMM that the Pittsburgh Steelers schedule was set up with Roethlisberger™s pending suspension in mind. ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter concurred, saying it was apparent that the schedule maker had the suspension in mind as the Steelers their first six games before no nationally-televised audience and then five nationally-televised games in their final 10 games.
NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith has said he is not in favor of Goodell™s suspending of Roethlisberger. Smith said he œfavors our country™s democracy and that we fought a war to rid the U.S. of being lorded over by a œking. The clear implication from Smith is that Goodell is acting autonomously in the Roethlisberger situation rather than in concert with or with the blessing of the Commissioner™s employers, the 32 team owners.
Whether or not Wilson or Schefter can prove the networks knew of Roethlisberger’s temporary ban, it wasn’t hard to tell some sort of punitive action was forthcoming. And in the unlikely event it just so happened that a ratings cash cow like the Steelers disappeared from early Autumn national TV schedules, there’s no coincidence surrounding Pittsburgh acquiring Byron Leftwich from Tampa Bay on the eve of Roethlisberger facing the music.