Updated at 1:20 pm ET -- The NFL has suspended Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for six games following a rape accusation against him by a college student earlier this year in a case where the prosecutor declined to press charges.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell elected to go for the maximum punishment since reports were that a suspension could just be four weeks for Roethlisberger violating the league's personal behavior rules.
In a letter to Roethlisberger, Goodell wrote:
"I recognize that the allegations in Georgia were disputed and that they did not result in criminal charges being filed against you. 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."
"Your conduct raises sufficient concerns that I believe effective intervention now is the best step for your personal and professional welfare."
"I believe it is essential that you take full advantage of the resources available to you. My ultimate disposition in this matter will be influenced by the extent to which you do so, what you learn as a result, and a demonstrated commitment to making positive change in your life."
"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."
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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to receive a four to six game suspension from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the league's personal behavior policy, according to reports.
Goodell is expected to officially announce the Super Bowl-winning quarterback's punishment on Wednesday. A spotlight focused on Roethlisberger after a college student recently accused him of raping her in a Georgia nightclub. No charges were filed against the quarterback after a law enforcement investigation.
NFL.com reports the following:
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to announce Wednesday that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be suspended for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. NFL Network's Jason La Canfora is reporting that the ban is likely to be for 4-6 games, with a sliding scale based on circumstances, including some component of counseling.
That would mean Roethlisberger would not be eligible to play in games against the Atlanta Falcons (home), Tennessee Titans (road), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (road) and Baltimore Ravens (home) to open the season. The Steelers have a bye in Week 5. If the suspension lasts the full six games, Roethlisberger also would miss a Week 6 home game vs. Cleveland and Week 7 at Miami. He would be eligible to practice with the team and participate in preseason games.
Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old female college student in a Milledgeville, Ga., nightclub last month, but he will not face criminal charges. Roethlisberger also is being sued in Nevada, where a woman has accused him of sexually assaulting her in his Lake Tahoe hotel room in 2008, although no charges were filed and the quarterback, who denies the allegation, is asking for counter-damages.
Goodell told a radio audience Monday that Roethlisberger violated the league's personal-conduct policy with his "pattern of behavior" and "bad judgments."