Should Big Ben address his teammates?

While talking to the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen during a televised interview on Wednesday, Steelers’ receiver Hines Ward said that Ben Roethlisberger should address his teammates in wake of what has transpired this offseason.

“A lot of players really don’t know the situation, other than what we hear in the news or the media,” Ward explained. “I think when he addresses the whole team going into training camp, we can all put it behind us and move forward.”

There was certainly nothing malicious in Ward’s statement. He wasn’t calling Big Ben out, nor was he suggesting that the Steelers haven’t embraced him upon his return to the practice field. What he is saying is that it would be a good idea if the team’s two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback addressed his teammates in order to put the situation behind him so they can move on as a team.

And I happen to agree.

Roethlisberger has ever right to keep his personal matters to himself and if he decides to do that, then he doesn’t deserve to be criticized. I wouldn’t want my dirty laundry to be aired out in front of a group of my peers, nor would anyone else. But Big Ben is already past that point.

Thanks to the media, his teammates already have a grasp on what happened and they’ve already drawn their own conclusions. But if he were to briefly stand up in front of the team and reaffirm his commitment to them, the Steelers and to winning, it might go a long way in putting the situation to rest. He doesn’t have to share details or even apologize – he just needs to kill the very large elephant in the room so that big bastard doesn’t sit there all season.

In general, people want to forgive and move on. I’m willing to bet that if Big Ben opens up to his teammates before training camp (or whenever) that he won’t have to say another word about the situation the rest of the season because it’ll be done. Again, he isn’t obligated to say anything. But given the importance of his position, his role with the team and how close professional athletes generally are, it might be in Roethlisberger’s best interest if he takes Ward’s suggestion to heart.

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Don’t let Young off the hook because of Big Ben

I always find it humorous when somebody tries to paint a better picture of a bad situation by comparing it to another one.

“Did you hear about the Johnson’s kid? He broke into the school Friday night and stole all the laptop computers.”

“Yeah, but at least he didn’t steal all the laptops and burn down the science wing like Elliott’s boy did a couple years ago.”

Both kids are clowns – don’t try to make one out to be better than the other. Case in point: Vince Young and Ben Roethlisberger.

According to the Tennessean, Young was cited for misdemeanor assault after punching a man in the face at a strip club in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday. The man apparently flashed Young an upside down Longhorns (as in Texas, Vince’s alma mater) sign, which angered the Titans’ quarterback to the point that the next logical step was to throw punches. (I’m only hoping that if Young sees someone flying an upside down American flag, he’ll show the same passion.)

If they haven’t already, I guarantee you that some people will compare Young’s situation to Roethlisberger’s sexual assault “history.” Don’t. In the grand scheme of things, they both don’t understand that as NFL players, they can’t make bad decisions that will embarrass their team or themselves. While Young’s citation was no worse than a speeding ticket (as opposed to Big Ben’s situation, in which he could have received much more than a six game suspension had he been charged), he still needs to use better judgment.

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Roethlisberger takes responsibility for actions, is a fan of third person phrases

Ben Roethlisberger recently granted separate interviews to Pittsburgh television stations KDKA and WTAE to discuss the allegations of his sexual assault case.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

In the interviews, Roethlisberger repeatedly faults himself for mistakes, blaming it in part on his immaturity while transitioning from his small-town Findlay, Ohio, background to “big city” Pittsburgh.

“Big Ben just kept building up, and I think it ended up coming off the field, and as the years kept going it just kept taking over Ben Roethlisberger,” he told KDKA’s Bob Pompeani.

Roethlisberger appeared relaxed and contrite throughout the interviews, with his most emotional moment coming in description of recent talks with his father, who now has a Western Pennsylvania farm Roethlisberger has visited frequently.

“We were talking about everything and how I got kind of lost, and he looked at me and we both kind of broke down, and he said, ‘It’s good to have my son back.’ And that just killed me,” Roethlisberger said.

I don’t care in what context they do it in: I love when athletes break out the third person. It’s classic.

It’s good to see that Roethlisberger is saying all the right things, but his actions will speak louder than his words in the end. He’s going to be tempted again at some point to go out, have a few adult beverages and check out the “scenery.” Will he do a better job of putting himself in a good situation or will he fall victim to his poor decision-making again?

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Big Ben accuser didn’t fight back because she is “a little girl” and he’s a “big boy”

Video evidence from the Ben Roethlisberger sexual assault case has risen to the internet surface and in one clip, his accuser can be seen saying that she didn’t want to fight back because she didn’t want him to hurt her “any more than he was going to.”


“I noticed throughout the night he kind of had like a short temper, like he would get really like defensive,” she told police in her second interview with them on March 5, about 12 hours after she said the assault took place. She didn’t elaborate further on what made her think the quarterback had a short temper.

During the first interview, she said she repeatedly told Roethlisberger, “I really don’t think this is OK,” but couldn’t stop him from having sex with her in the bathroom of a bar.

“I don’t know what I can … do,” she said. “I’m a little girl and he’s a big boy.”

In the video, the woman’s face was blurred. She was wearing a navy blue T-shirt and jeans and had her blond hair pulled back. She told police she didn’t think trying to fight Roethlisberger would stop the assault.

“I figured it wouldn’t help anything,” she said. “I didn’t want, obviously, him to hurt me any more than he was going to.”

Hindsight is always 20/20 and you’ll have to excuse me for passing judgment on someone else when I wasn’t involved in the situation. But if she said that he had a short temper, why didn’t she and her friends exit stage left at some point during the night? Why keep following him around to the different bars? What were her intentions that night? If they were to party with a celebrity, then she had already accomplished that. She didn’t have to continue to get drunk with a guy that a) she didn’t know, b) she didn’t trust and c) was someone who appeared to have a short fuse.

I’m not excusing anything Roethlisberger did that night, but she has to take responsibility for her actions, too. Wearing a “DTF” sticker on her shirt, getting wasted and following him around that night doesn’t pass for using good judgment. Neither was getting so drunk that she didn’t know whether or not he sexually assaulted her or she just “thinks” he did.

Another thing I’m a little fuzzy about is how the two of them wound up alone together in the bathroom. Did he ask her to come and she followed him? Was she dragged in there against her will? How did the situation go from a party scene with lots of people around to just him and her alone in the bathroom?

We’ll probably never know the details of what happened that night because the people involved were likely too drunk to remember. And unfortunately, the more details that emerge, the cloudier the facts become.

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Roethlisberger looking forward to second chance

Speaking to the media for the first time since he rejoined the Steelers earlier in the week, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that he was looking forward to a “second chance” and a new opportunity.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“I’ve put a lot of thought into my life, decisions that I’ve made in the past that I’ve been sitting at home thinking about things. I’ve been working closely with the commissioner on ways to make changes, corrections. So, I’m looking forward to the second chance and a second opportunity, not just in football because I think everyone knows what you’re going to get in football, but in life. I think that’s what’s kind of more important.

“A lot of them are personal things, you know, which is just something that I need to do. But it’s been neat being able to really re-evaluate my life and spend time with my family and kind of re-evaluate and re-figure what’s important in my life. That’s me … evaluating what I need to do and be smarter when it comes to certain things. Like I said it’s a new chapter and I’m looking forward to it and it starts with football. I’m glad to be back here … I’ll be talking to you guys a lot more.”

There are no shortage of young, drunk women that are ready to fawn over athletes and regret their decisions later. So we’ll see if Big Ben has made wholesale changes and whether or not he’ll follow through on some of the things he said to the media today.

And I hope he does change. Our society doesn’t need yet another athlete that has no concept of what it is to be a role model to kids. (Not that I think athletes should be role models anyway, but it doesn’t help when they publicly are accused of sexually assaulting not one, but two women in under a year.)

On a related note, the Post-Gazette is also reporting that it’s “obvious” that Byron Leftwich will be starting for the Steelers in Week 1. Dennis Dixon has yet to work with the first team, although that could change when training camp begins later this summer.

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