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Chris Chase

Goodell says Steelers didn't come to Roethlisberger's defense

Shutdown Corner

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If Ben Roethlisberger(notes) wins the Super Bowl MVP next week, the trophy presentation with Roger Goodell might get pretty awkward.

In this week's edition of Monday Morning Quarterback, Peter King quotes Goodell as saying he "doesn't feel any connection" with the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback. He also mentions that none of Roethlisberger's teammates backed him up while the NFL commissioner was investigating the incident at the Georgia bar last March:

"I bet [I talked to] two dozen [Steeler] players ... Not one, not a single player, went to his defense. It wasn't personal in a sense, but all kinds of stories like, 'He won't sign my jersey.'"

What's the purpose of cutting down one of the marquee players in the Super Bowl a few days before the game? We get it, Roger; you don't like Roethlisberger. You think he was guilty of more than bad judgment that night and want us to know that by hanging his teammates out to dry. Why call attention to this now, of all times?

King doesn't put the quote into context, so we can't be too critical of Goodell. Perhaps the commissioner was recounting the Steelers' lack of support as an example in the spring of how much Roethlisberger has turned his life around since then. Even if that's the case, there are about a hundred ways Goodell could have said it better.

The "no connection" thing is baffling, context or not. I don't think David Stern and LeBron James are taking a steam together or that Bud Selig is nagging Derek Jeter about when they're finally going to go see "Black Swan." It's not important that the NFL commissioner have "a connection" with one of his players. It's business, not personal.

This is Super Bowl week, the seven days of the year where every story, no matter how trivial, gets magnified by a degree of 10. I mean, the date of a team photograph has been in the headlines for five five days! Now is the time Roger Goodell chooses to take a dig at Ben Roethlisberger, who happens to be one of the quarterbacks taking part in his league's showcase event?

So much for all that cracking down on trash talk.

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