Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger released a statement to the public today in regard to the suspension he was handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The statement reads:
“The Commissioner’s decision to suspend me speaks clearly that more is expected of me. I am accountable for the consequences of my actions. Though I have committed no crime, I regret that I have fallen short of the values instilled in me by my family. I will not appeal the suspension and will comply with what is asked of me — and more.
“Missing games will be devastating for me. I am sorry to let down my teammates and the entire Steelers fan base. I am disappointed that I have reached this point and will not put myself in this situation again.
“I appreciate the opportunities that I have been given in my life and will make the necessary improvements.”
Not that I expected him to, but it’s now clear that he won’t be appealing the suspension, and intends to sit out and “comply with what is asked” of him. Time may tell otherwise, but from this very brief statement, he seems almost begrudging of his punishment. There’s no real sense of contrition in his statement, but more of a dawning realization that apparently he should be doing something different, even though it’s not readily clear what that something may be.
Another interesting slant is that the only people who received an explicit apology were his teammates and those associated with the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. Not his fans, not his family, surely not any vague, ethereal reference to any alleged victims, but solely the NFL franchise for which he’s played his entire career and won two championships for. One would think that these allegations and his acknowledgment of his own (unclear) misconduct would have affected more than his employer, but perhaps the implicit apology to everyone else is assumed by virtue of him even releasing a statement.
In any case, this definitely isn’t a statement that will put a definitive end to the questions surrounding Roethlisberger; if anything, it only leaves folks with more questions for Ben when he is available to sit and answer them. It’s not a matter of “if” he’s granting a press conference/interview, now it has to be a matter of “when.” Nowadays everyone sits before the cameras; A-Rod, Tiger, David Ortiz, they all had their moments in the hot seat. How will Ben react when the spotlight is on and the only tools he has at his disposal are his thoughts and words (or perhaps, the words of a handler drilled in through prep sessions)? The game of football is easy for him, but he finds the court of public opinion a far harder field to navigate at this point.