This week I received my latest edition of Sports Illustrated (May 5, 2010). The magazine’s cover story ‘The Hangover’ is on the Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The subtitle references his bad behavior, bad judgment and how “entitlement run amok is costing the proud Steelers.” As a Steelers fan this Roethlisberger scandal has been hard to take.
Just in case you didn’t get that he was a total sleazebag SI made sure to pick a photo that showed he hadn’t seen a razor in days. Add to that the prerequisite bank robber/rapist hat and the image is complete. He is a blue collar, semi-white trash, drunken thug who lives to defile the young and nubile.
Roethlisberger has done some dumb things in the past such as riding his motorcycle without a helmet, but this current double-whammy of sexual assault charges is just ridiculous. I use the word ridiculous because his actions were completely unnecessary.
I’m not negating the yuck factor of his actions. I can’t imagine having to fend off the drunken attentions of a man who is determined to have his way. It must be a scary situation for anyone, especially if the man is someone famous. I think that he deserved his NFL suspension because he obviously doesn’t grasp the concept of proper versus improper societal choices.
What I don’t understand is why he felt that he had no choice but to hit on and rough up some underage (under 21) college girls in order to get laid. He is a single guy–not physically unattractive–with loads of money. He could have gone through a low or high rent escort service for sex. He could have found some groupies to help him put his dick to rest. He also could’ve set-up some ‘friends with benefits’ situations to help relieve some of that sexual tension. Of course there are always known groupies whose day he would have made by giving them a “hot beef injection” to quote the Weird Science movie. I’m sure that some of his teammates could have guided him in the right coital direction whenever he really needed to get laid forthwith. I know some of these options are illegal and/or deemed immoral, but it’s done all the time, so there’s no point hiding our heads in the sand about it, pretending this type of so-called sexual decadence doesn’t exist.
Maybe Roethlisberger likes his women young because he still sees himself as a young college kid. Technically he’s only 7-8 years older than the woman he assaulted in Atlanta. But given his life experience and work environment he might as well be in another generation. I know that men usually like younger women because they are supposedly more supple, less of a hassle, less demanding and more malleable. They never think about what that says about them – that they are walking stereotypes of a manchild who can only relate to those younger than themselves.
He tried to put out the bad PR flames by holding a no-questions press conference, but it didn’t turn out well. He should have known that showing up to tell the world that you’re sorry while looking like you just got out of the shower would send the wrong message – again. It only confirmed to many that he was a first class lout. Now the SI story implies that he is a brain-damaged one at that, that his concussions have hampered his ability to know right from wrong, that he acts on instinct without understanding the consequences. I’m not sure which image is worse.
Since we’re a forgiving nation I’m sure that once Roethlisberger returns from his 6-game suspension and wins a few games all will be forgiven. It’s the American way. Hopefully while he is sitting out his time from the NFL he is getting some tips on how to pick up women whom he doesn’t need to assault to get their attention. It’s not that hard, pun intended.
Update: 1) In 2010 the NFL’s initial ‘personal misconduct’ suspension of Roethlisberger was reduced from six to four-games and he was ordered by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to undergo professional counseling and behavior evaluation during his suspension and subsequent reinstatement. 2) In 2010 the woman who accused Roethelisberger of sexual assault at a bar in Midgeville, Georgia on June 5, 2010 decided not to pursue criminal charges against him though she never recanted her accusation. The district attorney did not file criminal charges against Roethlisberger. 3) In 2012 Roethelisberger settled a civil lawsuit with Andrea McNulty who claimed that Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her in June 2008 at a Lake Takoe, Nevada celebrity golf tournament. No criminal charges were officially filed in the case. 4) Roethelisberger married Ashley Harlan in 2011; they have two children.