So I was discussing the Ben Roethlisberger situation with a friend of mine today. You remember that right? How Big Ben has now been accused of sexual assault twice in the last year, with the most recent accusation coming earlier this month. Well if you had forgotten, the fault is not yours as much of the sports media seems to have forgotten their job is to report on important news, especially when it concerns popular athletes.
Then again I guess being accused of sexual assault isn't as important to report as say as a player being involved in an interstate dog fighting ring right? At least that's what you would think considering the maelstrom that was the Michael Vick case, back when he was with the Atlanta Falcons and that was when he had only been accused of a crime, not charged with one; exactly the same situation Roethlisberger finds himself in currently. The difference is that the outrage there was over harm done to dogs, this may involve harm being inflicted upon a human being.
We have a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers with a pattern of questionable behavior. Pictures emerged a few years back of him partying with college students with a shirt reading "drink like a champion today". Then last year there came the accusation of sexual assault from Andrea McNulty,
Many of you may remember this incident because of ESPN's refusal to report the incident because, they claimed, they are cautious on reporting when people file civil suits versus criminal suits. This would make a lot of sense if they hadn't reported on a civil suit filed against Shannon Brown during the Lakers' championship run last June.
This they said was because it occurred during the playoffs and could affect both the team and the player. Regardless of when a case is filed against somebody, especially if they're the franchise quarterback on a team looking to defend its title, it could affect the player and the team.
Let's give them the benefit of the doubt here considering the circumstances surrounding the first allegation were suspicious as was McNulty's motivation since she claimed that the incident took place in June 2008, though she didn't file the suit until July 2009. That case is yet to be decided.
However the accusation most recently leveled against Roethlisberger seems to at least warrant some coverage in between the media's unhealthy obsession with Tiger Woods' adulterous ways and subsequent comeback and the NCAA tournament. Just consider the circumstances surrounding the most recent allegations facing Roethlisberger and his past history.
First off Ben was partying in a college bar filled with 18-21 year old women. If you're still awaiting a decision in a civil suit accusing you of sexual assault, you probably shouldn't be partying in a college town especially if you're 28.
Then to make it worse there are reports Ben and his posse instructed bouncers to scour the dance floor and bring girls back to the V.I.P. I'm going to go out on a limb and say their objective in having bouncers bring back girls was not to have deep rooted discussions with them.
Wait. It gets better. Amber Hanley, a 21 year-old college student says she asked Roethlisberger for a picture when she was back in the V.I.P. to which Roethlisberger responded too in a disappointed fashion, wanting more than a photo. Hanley rolled her eyes when she saw his reaction and walked away at which point, Roethlisberger called her an expletive.
Then to cap off his night Roethlisberger was accused, though not charged as yet, of sexual assault by a 20 year-old college student at nearby Georgia College & State University. The police who also talked to Roethlisberger that night were told by him that he had made sexual contact with the girl and that she fell and hurt her head. He also repeated several times that they had not had sexual intercourse.
Roethlisberger left town immediately following the incident and reports have surfaced since that he hasn't talked to investigators yet more than 2 weeks after the accusation was made.
At this point the lack of attention being given to a case involving a quarterback for one of the most popular teams in America's most popular sport is astonishing and raises questions about the media's ability to report stories accurately and fairly. Hell Matt Leinart got more heat for bonging beers with college students in the offseason as a 22 year-old then Roethlisberger has received.
I don't know if Roethlisberger is guilty of these accusations, that's for the legal process to sort out, but at the very least this story should be receiving similar attention to what the Michael Vick case garnered. At least that is the manner in which NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is treating it, planning on meeting with Roethlisberger to discuss these off-field issues.
Ben is guilty of excercising poor judgment while already awaiting a decision in another civil suit and in the process has created a possible distraction for his team that could have an impact on their season, particularly if the case goes to trial. For that alone he deserves to face the same level of criticism others in similar situations to his have faced from the media rather than the blatant disregard this case is being viewed with.