Rooney II: 'There will be consequences'

Art Rooney II announced that Ben Roethlisberger will be punished and that the Steelers will coordinate that punishment with the league. Rooney also talked about trade rumors and Santonio Holmes.

Art Rooney II, president, Pittsburgh Steelers

Let me start with an update of Ben Roethlisberger's situation.

As you know, on Tuesday, Ben met with Commissioner (Roger) Goodell in New York. Since then I have talked with the commissioner about his review of this matter. As far as the timing of any disciplinary action, the commissioner has told me he would like to take at least a couple weeks to review this matter. So, I don't expect we will be announcing any final decisions until the week after the draft, at the earliest.

Next, I want to say I've informed the commissioner that the Pittsburgh Steelers are prepared to take disciplinary action at this point. However, I want to make clear that any disciplinary action will be agreed to and coordinated by the commissioner and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In other words, there will be only one disciplinary action.

Let me say at this point that we believe each of our players not only has the responsibility to live up to the highest standards on the field, but also to equally high standards off the field. Receiving the support of Pittsburgh Steelers fans all over the world is something that must be earned. I've made it clear to Ben that his conduct in this incident did not live up to our standards. We've made it very clear to Ben that there will be consequences for his action, and Ben has indicated to us that he is willing to accept those consequences.

As you may be aware, Ben has rejoined the team and participated in our offseason conditioning program. We allowed Ben to do this after we were convinced that he is truly contrite for his actions, as well as having Ben's assurance that he is firmly committed to working hard every day to regain the trust and respect of this organization and Steeler fans.

After imposing an appropriate level of discipline, and outlining the steps we feel will be necessary to be a successful player and person, we intend to allow Ben the opportunity to prove to us that he is the teammate and citizen we all believe he is capable of being, and we hope the entire Steelers community will allow Ben the opportunity to prove to them that he deserves their trust and respect.

Next I'd like to say a few words about the Santonio Holmes trade to the New York Jets. Trading a player or releasing a player is never an easy decision. We have to take into a account a number of factors. First and foremost we must evaluate if the player is truly committed to trying to live up to the standards we expect. And on occasion, when a player makes a mistake, we have to evaluate whether the player is committed to taking the required steps to improve in the future. As you can imagine, to keep our commitment to our fans to consistently put the best possible team on the field, we must also evaluate a player's likely contribution both in the short term and the long term. Clearly Santonio's a very talented football player, but his multiple violations of league policies and the additional off-the-field problems, led us to conclude that it would be in the best interest of our organization to part ways. I wish Santonio all the best and I hope he is able to do what is necessary to be successful both on and off the field. I'd be happy to take some questions.

Q: Art, the Steelers have decided on disciplinary action. Are you going to impose that now? And what is it?

A: No. Like I said, there will only be one disciplinary action and it will be coordinated with the commissioner, and so when we get to the point where we have agreed with the commissioner on what that action will be, that's when it will be imposed.

Q: But you're prepared to discipline Ben?

A: We are.

Q: Are you concerned with about the Steelers' brand name in this whole thing? Is that one of the reasons you're taking this action?

A: Well, first and foremost we take these actions based on player conduct, and each case we have to evaluate what the player's conduct is and his ability to contribute in the future. In terms of the team's image, certainly I feel like we've taken a hit. But an image is built over a long period of time and I certainly think that there's a lot of goodwill still left in the Steelers' image and certainly that's something we'll try to build on as we go forward.

Q: Is there any truth you are discussing a trade or have discussed a trade?

A: We don't talk about trades in advance, as you know. It's been a consistent policy and I think that's the way we'll proceed. The only thing I'll add is that at this point we have not discussed a trade with any other club.

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