Rooney: Steelers prepared to discipline Roethlisberger
Steelers president Art Rooney II talks about Ben Roethlisberger, as well as the Santonio Holmes trade, at a press conference.
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The Steelers are prepared to discipline Ben Roethlisberger, team president Art Rooney said today, and the quarterback is willing to accept the "consequences."
That discipline, which he declined to identify, is not likely to happen for a few weeks and will be coordinated with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. It likely will include suspension for a certain amount of games to start the 2010 season.
"After imposing an appropriate level of discipline," Rooney said during a press conference this afternoon, "and outlining the steps we feel will be necessary to be successful as a player and a person, we intend to allow Ben the opportunity to prove to us he is the teammate and citizen we all believe he is capable of being.
"And we hope the entire Steelers community will allow Ben the opportunity to prove to them that he deserves their trust and their respect."
Rooney read a statement and then took questions in the team's media room at their South Side training facility as the team president spoke out for the first time since issuing a brief statement on Monday. He made it clear that discipline will be imposed for Roethlisberger's actions in Georgia March 4-5 when a 20-year-old woman accused him of sexual assault.
Investigators on Monday said they would not pursue charges in that case. Rooney said the civil lawsuit filed in Nevada by another woman claiming sexual assault by Roethlisberger has no bearing on any discipline that will be issued.
Goodell can suspend a player under the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy but has never used that policy against a player who has not been charged with a crime, which Roethlisberger has not. It is more likely that Goodell will discipline the quarterback rather than the team because the NFL Players Association would have an easier time winning an appeal if the team were to suspend its quarterback, and Rooney fairly acknowledged that today.
The Steelers president also noted that there will not be two separate decisions on discipline.
"I have made it clear to Ben that his conduct in this incident did not live up to our standards," Rooney said. "We have made it very clear to Ben that there will be consequences for his actions, and Ben has indicated to us that he is willing to accept those consequences."
First Published April 15, 2010 2:42 pm