In sports, everyone is a winner—some people just win better than others. Like the NFL's Judge Dredd, who can finally claim victory in his war to take back the NFL from scum and villainy (a.k.a. Ben Roethlisberger's wang.)
We have long known that Roger Goodell is the supreme legal authority in the land. His punishments go far beyond those of mere mortal prosecutors and judges. Where our jury system has failed, Goodell has picked up the slack—balancing the scales, so to speak. But with the coming suspension of Ben "Where Are My Pants?" Roethlisberger, the Commish may be crossing a new threshold of extra-judicial smackdowns. The first player ever to get banned simply for being a dick.
Roethlisberger has never lost a lawsuit, never been charged with a crime, was never even arrested for his (alleged!) unprincipled horndoggery. Unlike Donte' Stallworth or Michael Vick or Adam Jones, it's not clear—at least not definitively proven—that's he ever broken the law. Yet, one police report—and many other less official reports—paint a picture of a quarterback who is a world-class jackass. Remarkably, someone is actually going to make him pay for that.
Even more remarkable is that a forthcoming suspension from the league isn't just an acceptable fact of business now—it's an expected one. Everyone knew Goodell would step in. Everyone wants him to. They need him to. Teams and fans don't want to rely on dirtbags to bring them titles. Although some always will, most would prefer a more polite league. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported this weekend that in the 12 months before Goodell implemented the NFL's newer, tougher conduct policy, there were 79 incident of arrests or criminal charges against NFL players. In the last twelve months: 44. Athletes still love their DUIs, but for the most part it is working.
(Interesting note: The two teams with the fewest incidents? The Lions and Rams. So maybe there is such a thing as "too polite.")
But cutting down on arrests isn't enough anymore. Big Ben's junk threatens to spoil the NFL's big splashy NYC draft week. Instead, he's going to become a teachable moment for Jimmy Claussen. (Not that Jimmy doesn't know how to treat a lady. Just an example!) Just because the cops in your town agree that all woman are lying sluts, doesn't mean you're going to get away with your buffoonery anymore. Goodell may never rid the world of arrogant, abusive, over-privileged athletes, but at least at there's a bigger bully out there to mess with them.