Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had his suspension cut from the first six games of the season to the first four by commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday.
Roethlisberger was accused of assaulting a college student in Georgia after a night of drinking back in March, and was suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He wasn’t charged by Georgia authorities. Roethlisberger is also being sued by a Nevada woman who says she was sexually assaulted by him back in 2008.
Goodell explained the decision in a letter. “We’ve taken the last few months to evaluate Ben’s behavior, and he’s done an amazing job of not sexually assaulting anyone since the incident,” Goodell wrote.
“Given that, it only seemed fair to reduce the penalty. Everyone makes mistakes, and to hold a person accountable to an original punishment for those mistakes when they haven’t committed any similar mistakes since then just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
Roethlisberger reacted positively to the news. “This just goes to show you that not sexually assaulting someone for a five month period can really pay off,” Roethlisberger said.
“Obviously I was tempted to sexually assault people, I’m human. But when it came down to it, I just decided I didn’t want to let down my teammates and fans. I hope the kids out there can learn something from this. It just feels good to be rewarded for something that I’m proud of.”
Originally Roethlisberger’s representation was hoping the suspension would be cut to three games.
“I don’t think people realize the greatness of the accomplishment Ben has made here,” Roethlisberger’s agent Ryan Toller said. “To just give up sexual assault cold-turkey like that, for five months? Especially when you consider how big a d-bag my client really is. I think that’s worth more than a two-game reduction. But that’s just me.”