Ben Roethlisberger — Champion or Chump?

Ben Roethlisberger

By Thalia Bardell, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

Well the man certainly hasn’t made any friends over the past few days. Not that he had many before, at least in light of the last couple of off-seasons. Yeah, you know whom I’m talking about. Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Now I’m going to come clean right here – I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, have been since the Kordell Stewart days and boy, were those days awful. But that is beside the point. As a Steeler fan it is impossible for me to forget what happened this past March – Big Ben allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in the seedy bathroom of a Milledgeville, Georgia bar. I must admit, however, that in the excitement of this winning season Ben’s actions had fallen to the back of my mind.

But in the two-week holding period between the championship games and the Super Bowl the media needs something to talk about. Big Ben’s bad behavior – it’s right at the top of the list. No one can get enough of Roethlisberger and for all the wrong reasons; the pot has been stirred and the rumors and questions are swirling again. Did he really assault her? Did he deserve to have his suspension shortened? How many players did NFL commissioner Roger Goodell really talk to? I’ve got Jets fans all over my Facebook wall making underage chick comments. For the record guys, the woman was 20 and last I checked that was over the age of consent — quit being sore losers. But as much as I hate the flak that I take for being a Steeler fan whenever Roethlisberger comes up I think that his behavior deserves to be dissected and that the man needs to take some heat. I’ll be the first person to tell you that as much as I love Roethlisberger on the field for his toughness, strength, and scrambling ability, off the field I think he has behaved like an irresponsible idiot. Frankly, I think the man should be placed on “gym arrest” for the entire off-season, either that or Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney needs to hire a full-time babysitter for him – just make sure she’s really unattractive – and I don’t think he’s willing to do that.

What does Big Ben have to say about all of this? Apparently, he’s a reformed sinner. He’s found out “Just how awesome having an inner peace in life can be.” Really? I haven’t found inner peace and I’ve been practicing yoga for six years and don’t even have a speeding ticket on my record. It’s unbelievable and disingenuous. Nobody in Boston believes the guy; in fact ,people seem even more incensed than when the incident originally happened because of the way Roethlisberger is handling the media. The man shows no remorse, no regret, not a single “I’m sorry for the way I acted” or “it is something that has weighed heavily on my mind.” The fact that he barely faced any consequences doesn’t help his case either – he was not criminally charged and I’m not sure a  four game suspension was enough to teach him a lesson.

So what does Roethlisberger have to do to be redeemed in the eyes of the public? Does he simply need to apologize? Act like he feels at least a little badly about what happened? Or does he need to fall even further – hit rock bottom before fans will begin to redeem him? Look at Michael Vick, he’s not loved for sure, but he served jail time, seemed genuinely repentant over what he’d done, had a great season this year with the Philadelphia Eagles and he’s receiving positive and supportive attention from both media and fans. Dante Stallworth of the Baltimore Ravens served jail time when he struck and killed a construction worker while driving drunk in Miami – and the sports world has seemingly all but forgotten about that. Does Roethlisberger need to get locked up before fans say, yeah, ok, that’s enough. Perhaps he needs to pull a Tiger Woods, go to rehab and then come back and well … suck. Have a losing season; get destroyed up and down the field. There are people who like Tiger better now that he’s showed a little humanity, a little flaw.

As of right now no one is forgiving Roethlisberger because he hasn’t fallen hard enough. He’s committed wrongful actions and suffered no penalty. He’s winning Super Bowl rings and putting up Tom Brady-esque numbers but it’s only making people hate him more. The truth is that Roethlisberger, despite his on field achievements, will never be a Tom Brady, he’ll never be a truly great quarterback – he blew that in a bathroom stall. He wants to be a “role model” he says, wants young kids to wear his jersey. It’s not going to happen Ben; if I ever have a kid he’s getting a number 43 Troy Polamalu jersey and if you make an appearance it’ll be in some lecture about “learning the consequences of one’s actions.”

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34 responses to “Ben Roethlisberger — Champion or Chump?

  1. I dislike Ben Roethlisberger an appropriate amount, trust me. But I’m going to hop in and come to his defense — I’ll play devil’s advocate at least. First off you say “he’ll never be a truly great quarterback — he blew that in a bathroom stall.” I disagree. If we wins this Sunday, he’ll have 3 championship which puts him among the all-time greats. Whether you like it or not, the guy has been a winner thus far (I hope he loses). While he may be a loser in his personal life, he’s certainly not on the field and there’s a big distinction there. As far as his sexual assault and all that, first of all he was never proven guilty. Is he consistently putting himself in bad situations and acting a bit shady? Sure. That said, there’s thousands of young women out there looking for an opportunity just like Ben walking into a bar so that they can scream rape and try to make a buck out of it. Which is sad, but true. I’m not saying that’s what happened, as I have no idea, but I do know that as a famous athlete your set up for this scenario. All we can do it let the legal system run it’s course.

    • j-bone

      I agree being a great qb really has nothing to do with off the field anything (surprising you say that after all your brady good looking/hot wife hes so cool and dreamy talk).

      Yes there are girls who will take advantage of situations, there are also pieces of shit who take wasted girls in the bathroom, have their body gaurds block the doors while the girls friends try and push him out the way to get said drunk friend. Cops also got fired over this situation so Ben may never get his day in court but I think its pretty well established what went on in that bathroom.

  2. j-bone

    Roethlisberger is just a bad guy; it is the same thing as Vick. you can do the jail time, say your sorry, really look like you changed; but you still did what you did, nothing is going to change that. It is up to the fans to decide whether or not they will cheer for the guy. I do think it is crazy that just because the guy is good at what he does they seemed to be defended/forgiven alot easier. If the 27 year old insurance agent has two alleged rapes in the past three years no one is gonna say well he seems sorry lets give him a break because look at how good he is at his job.

  3. A few thoughts…

    A lot of people in this country bring up the inequalities of our legal system, namely that if you are wealthy you have a better chance of receiving a not-guilty verdict because you can afford a better lawyer. I think this seem logic can be applied to Big Ben’s case, as some would believe that Ben was never charged because the DA didn’t have overwhelming evidence to substantiate the charges against him. I say good for Ben and in my opinion he is only guilty of putting himself in some bad situations…and when haven’t we all done this?

    The NFL suspended him for being a blockhead, not because he had broken any law. Yet the media and public still perceive what has happened in his past private life as relevant today? I don’t see the relevancy…except for our own society’s morbid voyeuristic obsession with celebrities’ lives. Additionally, since Big Ben may not be demonstrating the proper remorse for his actions, I feel like there is a desire from the media and public to institute their own “justice.”

    First, I don’t need to see remorse from someone who is not-guilty of any crime (Vick and Stallworth were). Second, would you express remorse just because people expected you to even if you were innocent? I’d probably be polite fully defiant while going through the PR motions.

    Lastly, Big Ben is a great quarterback and is the sole reason why it is dangerous to bet against the Steelers in any post-season game.

    • Agreed, for the most part except that I think the Steelers are dangerous in any playoff game due to their defense much more so than Ben.

      • Good point, but I used dangerous simply because Big Ben has that “it” factor (like Brady and other great QBs) and has the ability to pull out a win when needed. Yes the Steelers defense can stop offenses and create turnovers, but you still need that QB to put the points on the board. From memory, the Steelers defense scoring points is the exception not the norm in the playoffs.

    • j-bone

      This isn’t the first time that he has been accused of rape, that would seem to be a pattern. Who know what sort of payment may have taken place between the two side, cops were fired over their actions on the case, and yes Ben has the money to have this go away. Just because he was not charged with anything does not mean he did not do it. Would you want your sister/cousin/friend going out on a date or a night out with Ben, I dont think so.

      We have all had bad judgement, my bad judgement has never resulted in a 20 year old saying she was raped while somone blocked her friends from helping her out. Too say well boy will be boys, he just got to drunk and did dumb things deminishes what actually seemed to happen that night. If this was just another ass hole frat bro the guy is going to get questions asked of him, people would stop being his friend; but because the guy throws a football far and is playing in the super bowl we should say well he just had bad judgment? bullshit.

      • I’ve heard the rumors that Ben is a prick, asshole, you name it. Have I ever met the guy? Nope. Therefore I’m not going to pass judgment and say that I wouldn’t allow someone close to me to go on a date with the guy. And yes, just because he wasn’t charged doesn’t mean that he isn’t guilty. But conversely just because someone is charged doesn’t mean they are guilty. Unfortunately, so many of these high profile cases take on a life of there own in the media and the information presented can often take the form of making a story, instead of telling the public the story. I’m not saying that has entirely happened with Ben, but I am cautious about passing judgment on someone.

      • j-bone

        You don’t need to have met the guy to know that atleast two women that he has spent some time with “enjoyed” it so much that they felt the need to go to the police. I know I wouldn’t trust someone close to me hanging out with him with that information alone. The guy may be an a-hole to people, and that info came out after this past incident, but that is not why I wouldn’t want someone close to me going out with Ben, its because of two women, who as far as I know did not file any civil charges as of yet, went to the cops.

      • Good point. People are always 100% truthful. Especially when large sums of money are involved. Just saying.

      • j-bone

        I agree, and as soon as I hear about those settlements and the details about what takes place come out I will question their motives. Until then I am just going on what I heard, and it sounds pretty bad for Benjamin.

      • Kevin Youkillis

        without knowing all the facts it is tough to say what happened.. Look at the kids at duke. They were innocent and many of their lives were probably ruined by the accusations. Prosecutors were disbarred in that case because they rushed to charge these kids with rape. It works both ways and without knowing all the facts, I tend to give people who haven’t even been charged with a crime the benefit of the doubt.

      • j-bone

        I tend not to when the cops were fired because of the way they handled the case, if they do there jobs maybe there are charges. I think to just say no charges=did not happen is dangerous. All the facts that came out of that case look like something happened. Ben who has a very public forum has really shown nothing to disprove anything, he doesn’t really have to because he was nto charged, but if I was falsely accused of anything I would fight it, if it was rape I would be screaming my head off that I did not do it and then show facts as to why I did not.

  4. Kevin Youkillis

    I think saying no charges= he did it anyway is way more dangerous. I think Ben’s way of fighting it is by not showing remorse and not apologizing the way people want him to. Like you said he is in the public eye and has to or should act in a certainly way.. He doesnt need to show facts that he didnt do it because by not filing charges that in itself is saying there werent enough facts to show he did it. Also the girl from the bar (the story we are familar with, i know nothing about the prior accusations) asked for the charges to dropped.

    • j-bone

      I didn’t say that no charges= did it. What I am asking is to look at the facts and make an opinion. To automatically say no charges= did not do it means that when you get off on some random law from 1897 you did not do it, if you did something you did it, I do not need a judge to tell me.

      I am not talking about the legal system I am talking moral. Look at the facts of the case with out lawyer goggles on, maybe she dropped the charges because she was tired of cops who were in charge of protecting her in the case turning the blind eye. Maybe she saw that this guys celebrity was working in his advantage and to drag herself and that night any longer was not worth it to her. To say well the Miledgeville court system allowed a pro football player to walk, after the way it seems he received special treatment the entire night, so that means nothing happened is just silly. Why did the body gaurd not let her friends get her out of the bathroom if nothing was going on, why does the girl go to the cops if nothing went on, money? no civil charges filed as of yet. Something went on in that bathroom and if it was your sister/friend/relative who was in there I really don’t think you are saying well he wasnt charged.

      • Kevin Youkillis

        i never said… say no charges= did not do it.. I agree with you, you have to look at all the facts but i take the fact that no charges were brought into account when coming to a conclusion. We do not know probably 1/10th of the facts of the case.

        and the girl cant drop the charges herself, she only asked.. they could have charged him anyway if they had the evidence.

        If your brother/friend/relative was being accused of a rape he claims he didn’t commit and they didnt have enough evidence to would not want charges to be brought. Playing the family card is too easy, no one would ever want anything bad to be done or said about a loved one.. thats just human nature.

      • j-bone

        If someone I know raped/had sex with a completly wasted girl, while a buddy of his blocked the door while her friends tried to get her out, I wouldnt want charged to be brought, and I really dont care about charges with Ben, but I would say you are a fucked up person for what you did, and that would stay with me, no matter how many times he put on a big smile in pictures and says he learned from his “mistakes” which he wont admit he made.

      • j-bone

        oh and by the way you were on the other side of this argument like 4 days ago.

  5. Kevin Youkillis

    and i meant we probably do not know 9/10ths of the facts of the case. oops

    • Kevin Youkillis

      well you seem convinced that he absolutely raped her and that there is no doubt in your head….

      and i know i was on the other side, its just fun to get into arguments with you and play devils advocate. especially when deep down i pretty much agree ( im not sure he did it, or at least as sure as you seem.. but id say chances are good something happened that was illegal and morally reprehensible in that bathroom)

      • j-bone

        I am not convinced he did it, I do think he did but no one really knows except her and him. Thats the case with pretty much everything. Something went wrong in that bathroom. My biggest problem is anyone actually defending this scum bag. Its the same shit as with Vick, if this guy doesnt throw a football hes just a scumbag like every other multiple time accused rapist.

      • Kevin Youkillis

        i will not get into the vick conversation with you. I think we both know that will go nowhere but i dont necessarily think being an accused rapist makes you a scumbag (refer to the duke kids, who were innocent)… i do understand your point and its valid, especially because it has happened multiple times with Ben. But some people really buy into the whole innocent until proven guilty as a be all end all.. I dont.

      • j-bone

        Accused multiple times

  6. Not to change the subject, but if anyone wants to read about how great of a quarterback Peyton Manning is you can check out my new post. I think even Patriot fans will have to agree with me on this one.

  7. Williams

    Big Ben is a piece of crap as a human being. With that said… for the love of god Packers dont let him get out of the pocket to the right side. Contain him, make him go to the left, and win the game.

    I hate the Steelers

  8. Dan

    This is a somewhat emotional outburst and not nearly as eloquent as some of the comments here, but here we go:

    He’s a Dirtbag! Plain and simple! I understand that nothing’s ever been proven and that it’s wrong to rush to judgement. I believed that after the first incident in Tahoe. After the second incident in Georgia, I’m going by the old saying of “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” I have NO respect for any guy who would force himself on a woman. And, believe me, I’ve hung out with some less than credible characters in my time, but those kind of actions are beyond forgiveable.

    I couldn’t agree more with the last line of this article – “It’s not going to happen Ben; if I ever have a kid he’s getting a number 43 Troy Polamalu jersey and if you make an appearance it’ll be in some lecture about ‘learning the consequences of one’s actions.'”

    When my twin girls are old enough, Ben Roethlisberger is going to be used as an example of the kid of guy I will chase out of the house with a shotgun if they bring him home.

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  10. Torin D

    Didn’t we cover this on another post that was taken down or something? Yes, there were 2 allegations that Ben had inappropriate sexual contact with women. One of those women admitted to her friend (and later in sworn testimony) that she and Ben had consentual sex. So to continue to belabor the point on it being 2 charges in 3 years is petty. Additionally, why is no one pissed that the first girl may be one of those “rich celeb…screw him…cry rape…get cash”? Isn’t that what she did?

    And this second girl…”A boy kinda raped me”. Look, I have never been raped (who knows? There is always Turkish prison), but I would think that if you are raped, you would know. “A boy kinda raped me” is…unsure at best. Was she just that bombed? Lawyers or not, the prosecutors could not find enough evidence to convict him (no semenal fluids in the vag). The girl didn’t say her friends tried to get her out…her friends said they tried to get her out. But they have no idea what happened in that room. And none of you do either. So, whereas I love your eloquence and passion in expressing your opinions, do not mistake them for facts.

    That said, I think Ben is a d-bag of epic proportions. He ranks right there with Kobe (or are you all on his jock?). Kudos to the guy who referenced the Duke Lax team. Some really f’ed up e-mails were uncovered in that case…Duke lost an entire season (where they were a TOP Lax team) and untold recruits because of it. There are ripple effects to everything. Some Marketing people will tell you “Any press is good press”. Ask Ben.

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