NEW YORK - Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for six games without pay Wednesday for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy and ordered to undergo behavioral evaluation.
Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the punishment a week after prosecutors decided not to charge Roethlisberger in a case involving a 20-year-old college student who accused him of sexually assaulting her in a Georgia nightclub in March.
Goodell said the league’s conduct policy gave him the right to impose discipline regardless of whether he broke the law.
That got me to thinking.
Wouldn't it be appropriate for elected and private officials holding the public trust be held accountable by a higher authority than the existing legal parameters?
What if a person winning a public office seat or anyone handling someone else's money had to sign a good conduct policy such as mandated to play or be employed in the National Football League?
Let me don my hat as commissioner, a title I prefer over czar which is the nom de plume thrust on presidential advisers who skirt Senate confirmation.
I would levy treble damages for innocent investors bilked by Goldman Sachs in the federal civil suit filed against them by the Securities Exchange Commission. I would ban for life John Paulson, the hedge fund operator who instigated the scheme, from touching a dime of someone else's money.
I would suspend Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada from running for public office for six years subject to psychological evaluation by a sex and ethics specialist.
I would establish a branch of the commissioner's office called "Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire," which would fine offenders one day's pay for each offense.
I would deport South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford to Argentina.
I would retain my sense of humor despite the horror these people inflict on the masses.
As you can see, the NFL has a benevolent dictatorship in place. In my younger days, I was crushed when the NFL suspended Green Bay Packers star Paul Hornung and Detroit Lions bully Alex Karros for a full season because of gambling.
Baseball banned Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose for life, also for gambling.
Yet, no sport commissioner ever banned a player for life for substance abuse.
The six-game suspension for Roethlisberger will cost him $2.8 million. In a letter to the player, the commissioner wrote:
"Your conduct raises sufficient concerns that I believe effective intervention now is the best step for your personal and professional welfare. In your six years in the NFL, you have first thrilled and now disappointed a great many people. I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity to get your life and career back on track."
I rest my case.
Readers comments are welcome as long as they remain civil. We reserve the right to delete any comments that are vulgar, libelous and totally irrelevant to this posting. -- Jer