There has been little real “news” over the last few days in the investigation into the sexual assault accusation against Ben Roethlsiberger, but some interesting insights have surfaced, principally from Ed Bouchette.
Bouchette on Rooney
Steelers President Art Rooney II spoke with reporters at Steelers offices last week about the Roethlisberger situation. He is what he said:
I mean look, that’s one of the things, we do have a little bit of luxury of time. If we were at a different point in the year we may have to be thinking and doing something different. But at the moment, I think we’re in a situation we’re going to let this investigation play out and then go from there.
On the surface this statement is little more than “wait and see” boiler plate. But Bouchette sees something else through the lines. Writing in PG Plus, he offers that Rooney’s admission that the Steelers would be acting differently were this at a different juncture in the year indicates Rooney’s openness to the real possibility that Ben will miss part of the year.
Bouchette at the NFL Owners Conference
Bouchette has reported that Roethlisberger is all that anyone, press, front office execs, coaches, etc… want to talk about at the NFL owners spring meeting down in Orlando, Florida.
If Bouchette’s comments about Rooney were a little provocative, they were nothing compared to what he offered on PG Plus from Orlando:
I had a chance to talk to a handful of club officials and some from the league before their 9 a.m. meeting with Goodell today and I’ve come to the conclusion that if he is charged in this incident, his days playing for the Steelers could be over.
This is a pretty bold statement. The fact that Ben could be facing major problems professional, as well as legally, is nothing new. But this is the first time someone this close to the Steelers has suggested Ben could be sent packing if he is merely charged.
Goodell on Roethlisberger
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also spoke about Roethlisberger, going father than most have.
Goodell went on the record saying, “We are concerned that Ben continues to put himself in this position.”
This is interesting in that it shows that the league, while it might have been willing to look past the first sexual assault charge, is not keen on looking past the second – even if there ends up being more smoke than fire.
It is also interesting in that it seems to presume that what is at issue here is Ben’s judgement, as opposed to his conduct, if you can take the difference between the two.
Final Word on Tomlin
Mike Tomlin of course made headlines by appearing on the NFL Network and saying that he was “Concerned for Ben as a person and for the franchise.” Reporters made quick work of this statement in addition to the fact that Tomlin became suddenly unavailable to reporters.
While Tomlin might have been betraying that he knows more than has been made public, it is quite possible that he just managed an old-fashioned slip of the tongue.
For the record, I do not buy his later explanation that he only spoke about Ben on the NFL Network because he was compelled to. (Although if it is true, that as a lot of other implications that the Watch Tower might look into later.)
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