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.
“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.”
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.
Before acting, Goodell said he interviewed Roethlisberger on April 13 and talked to current and former players and the players’ union. He also reviewed information from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Milledgeville police and talked privately with Georgia district attorney Fred Bright. In addition, Goodell said he listened to recommendations from the quarterback’s representatives and took into account information learned by the NFL office regarding the alleged assault.
Taylor signs with Jets
New York — Jason Taylor has signed a two-year contract with the New York Jets, and the former Miami Dolphins standout says he’s committed to helping his former rivals make a Super Bowl run.
Taylor signed the deal Wednesday, a day after agreeing to terms. Taylor said he was hoping for an offer from the Dolphins that never came, and after vacationing in Costa Rica last weekend he decided to join the Jets. New York could pay Taylor only $1.75 million in base salary this season, the same amount that unrestricted free agent kicker Jay Feely signed for with Arizona.
Thunder’s Brooks top coach
Oklahoma City — Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks has been named the NBA’s coach of the year after engineering the league’s best turnaround. The Thunder won 27 more games this season than they did a year ago, going 50-32 and earning the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs with the NBA’s youngest roster.
Ex-IOC chief Samaranch dies
London — Juan Antonio Samaranch, a former International Olympic Committee president, died Wednesday. He was 89. The Quiron Hospital in Barcelona said Samaranch died after being admitted due to heart problems.
Samaranch headed the IOC from 1980 to 2001. He retired as the second-longest serving president in the history of the IOC. He was succeeded by current president Jacques Rogge.
Samaranch was a reserved but shrewd dealmaker whose 21-year term was marked by the unprecedented growth of the Olympics and the Salt Lake City corruption scandal.
The former Spanish diplomat was considered one of the defining presidents of the IOC for building the committee into a powerful global body and firmly establishing the Olympics as a world force.
Woods adds two events
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. — Tiger Woods added two more tournaments Wednesday to a schedule that is not much different from previous years except for the timing.
Woods entered The Players Championship and the AT&T National, which benefits his foundation. It was the second straight week that Woods made an early commitment to a PGA Tour event, allowing for more time to promote his appearance. For years, the world’s No. 1 player waited until the last few days before signing up.
OU’s Gallon enters draft
Norman, Okla. — Forward Tiny Gallon plans to enter the NBA Draft after one season at Oklahoma. Gallon said in a statement he decided to turn pro after speaking with his mother and Sooners coach Jeff Capel.
Oklahoma opened an internal investigation after TMZ.com reported that Gallon had taken a $3,000 wire transfer from a Florida financial adviser. That investigation is ongoing. Gallon averaged 10.3 points and 7.9 rebounds last season, the fourth-highest rebounding average for a freshman at Oklahoma.
Appalachian taps Capel
Boone, N.C. — Appalachian State turned to a familiar coaching family on Wednesday, making Jason Capel the youngest men’s basketball coach in NCAA Div. I.
At 30 years, three months, Capel, who was born in 1980, is three months younger than Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Brian Wardle.
Four MWR teams penalized
Charlotte, N.C. — NASCAR on Wednesday penalized four teams that fall under the Michael Waltrip Racing banner for violations at Texas Motor Speedway.
NASCAR said cars driven by David Reutimann, Martin Truex Jr., Max Papis and Marcos Ambrose all failed Friday’s post-qualifying inspection at Texas. Reutimann and Truex’s cars are owned by MWR, while Ambrose and Papis drive for teams aligned with MWR.
Among the penalties issued were $75,000 fines and season-long probation for crew chiefs Bootie Barker (Papis) and Frank Kerr (Ambrose).