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Article:Roethlisberger Walks...For Now

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Jeff Benedict and Don Yaeger wrote a detailed work, "Pros and Cons" documented the off-field criminal activity of NFL personnel. Violence and especially violence against women were recurrent themes. Their detailed research showed that over twenty percent of NFL players had been arrested and charged with serious crimes.

Of course, Ben Roethlisberger wasn't charged with a serious crime. The statements released suggest that with off-duty law enforcement officers present, Roethlisberger had sexual contact with an intoxicated young woman against her will. A prosecuting attorney didn't feel this met the high standard of criminal conduct, or at least didn't provide a provable case.

High profile Boston sports attorney Harry Mannion revealed that he had another client who chose not to pursue similar allegations against the Steeler quarterback.

And now the matter falls to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to try to uphold the standards of NFL player and personnel behavior. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the NFL offices.

I think it fair to say that if most professionals appeared in the same circumstance, their career would be over...if their professional licensing boards had any say. For example, the headline "Chief of Medical Staff has Inappropriate Sexual Contact with Young Woman" would simply equal loss of license, loss of job, loss of future. Or principal of a high school or department head in a major US company.

But we hold college and professional athletes to a different standard, probably from the time when they separate themselves athletically from mere mortals.

Will Goodell hand out a cookie-cutter four game suspension or will the Commissioner hand out the 'death penalty' a one-year suspension to accompany alcohol rehabilitation? Or maybe something in between?

Abraham Maslow said, "What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself." Nothing to date suggests that Roethlisberger has a clue, and expecting change without a wake up call of biblical proportions is mere fantasy. Big Ben may be a terrific football player; he has shown that he falls far below the level of a decent human being.

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