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April 16, 2010 9:36 AM

Why Is Goodell Helping the Steelers?

Ben dumb Roethlisberger.jpgThe Ben Roethlisberger incident got a little uglier after The Smoking Gun released witness statements. The alleged victim claims Roethlisberger exposed himself to her and wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. The Steeler QB met with Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York on Wednesday to discuss the incident. Goodell has a reputation for laying down the hammer and levying fines and suspensions regardless of whether the player has been charged. Big Ben, of course wasn't charged, but he will be punished in some form. The NFL released a statement after their meeting: "In accordance with the league's personal conduct policy, our office will review all the facts and follow up at the appropriate time with the Steelers and Ben."

But when is the appropriate time? Mike Florio of Sporting News writes, "Rooney has said that discipline won't be imposed against Roethlisberger until the week after the draft at the earliest." But how about from Goodell? Some think Goodell would rather let the Steelers handle it and not have to deal with suspending Roethlisberger. There's the thought that his punishment will be measured against the punishment he gave Santonio Holmes and then issues of race will pop up.

But can Goodell really sit back and let the Steelers get away with this? Deception plays a huge part in the NFL Draft and by waiting to punish Roethlisberger the Steelers are at an advantage. Teams who might possibly trade for him should know what his punishment is going to be.

What more does Goodell need to know to assess a punishment? He should stop worrying about avoiding bad press and punish Roethlisberger before the draft.

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