Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for six games for his role in a sexually charged incident in a Georgia nightclub by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who said even though no charges were filed against the two-time Super Bowl winner, he must answer to a higher standard.
“I recognize that the allegations in Georgia were disputed and that they did not result in criminal charges being filed against you,” he said in his letter to the two-time Super Bowl winner, a six-year veteran.
“My decision today is not based on a finding that you violated Georgia law, or on a conclusion that differs from that of the local prosecutor. That said, you are held to a higher standard as an NFL player, and there is nothing about your conduct in Milledgeville that can remotely be described as admirable, responsible, or consistent with either the values of the league or the expectations of our fans.”
Prosecutors declined to charge Roethlisberger after a 20-year-old co-ed told cops he raped her in the club's tiny bathroom in March. Although it was the second such accusation against Roethhlisberger, Goodell has said the first incident was not a factor in his decision.
Roethlisberger must undergo a “comprehensive behavioral evaluation by medical professionals” and may not attend any team offseason activities until that evaluation is completed.
The suspension could be reduced to four games for good behavior. Sitting out all six games would cost him an estimated $2.8 million.
Roethlisberger is the highest-paid player in the storied franchise's history, with a $102 million contract. He is currently being sued in a civil case by a Nevada hotel employee who has accused him of sexually assaulting her in 2008.