Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's long past time to grow up

Unless you've been living underground for the past few days, you're well aware that the beloved “Big Ben” Roethlisberger is in hot water again as a result of his alleged conduct with a member of the fairer sex. In this latest case, a 20-year-old college student is accusing the Steelers quarterback of sexually assaulting her inside a nightclub in Milledgeville, Ga. This comes just months after Roethlisberger was sued by a woman who claims the athlete raped her at a Lake Tahoe hotel in 2008. In the earlier case, I was inclined to believe Roethlisberger. The woman who sued him never made a criminal complaint, and the whole thing had a funny "smell" about it. We don't know yet, and may never know, what happened in the latest case, but Roethlisberger’s "people" are sure taking it seriously. Almost immediately, they suggested that the woman involved had an ulterior motive and said the fact that no charges were instantly filed indicated no crime was committed. For those of you counting, that's one piece of character assassination and one outright lie. Police in George continue to conduct their investigation, and once they have talked to everyone involved, including Roethlisberger and his "posse,” and have examined all the evidence, including surveillance video, they'll make a decision about whether a crime did, in fact, occur. That’s the correct way to proceed. The fact that Roethlisberger wasn't immediate cuffed and taken to jail means nothing. And the hiring Monday of high-profile defense lawyer Ed Garland, whose past clients have included rapper T.I. and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, suggests to me that Roethlisberger and his handlers think, or fear, that criminal charges might be forthcoming. But even if no charges are filed, Roethlisberger’s image has taken another savage beating. Most people were willing to forgive the stupidity of his helmetless motorcycle crash and to overlook the Lake Tahoe incident, based on what became known about the case. But this stink isn't dissipating as quickly, and some fans are finally questioning the lifestyle choices being made by their football hero. I've always thought of Roethlisberger as an egotistical, insincere jerk. And apparently I'm not alone. The AP reported the other day that Roethlisberger has become known for “occasionally inelegant behavior in Pittsburgh.” The story said the quarterback has been the target of complaints from restaurant owners in the ’Burgh who say he has tried to skip out on bills on the grounds that he brought business to the establishments by gracing them with his presence. In Georgia, a college girl who was in the bar where the sexual assault allegedly took place said she was one of the young ladies allowed into the VIP area with Roethlisberger and his contingent. According to the AP, the young lady, Amber Hanley, said she asked Roethlisberger to take a photo with a friend whose boyfriend was a fan, but Hanley said Roethlisberger seemed disappointed that the girl wasn't interested in “something more.” Hanley told the AP that when she rolled her eyes at Roethlisberger, he cussed her and walked away, only to begin “aggressively hitting on another girl.” Based only on my perceptions of Roethlisberger and anecdotal evidence, I’m not inclined to doubt her. I’ve also heard very disturbing stories from young women I know about the nightclub behavior of other Steelers players, some of whom reportedly developed temporary amnesia about the wife and kids back home. There are plenty of people in other professions who behave badly, but professional athletes have to know they’re in the spotlight, and that their actions can reflect badly on fellow players and the franchise. And Roethlisberger clearly doesn't get it. At age 28, he’s no longer some deer-in-the-headlights-of-fame kid fresh out of college. In the Nevada case, I don’t recall him ever denying he had sex with the woman in question, just that he didn’t rape her. I think it’s fair to question his morality if he bedded down with a virtual stranger, even though that doesn't seem to bother a lot of people these days. Nevertheless, after the civil case was filed, you would think that any intelligent person would modify his behavior so as not to put himself in such a position again. Not Roethlisberger. His love of the nightlife apparently lives on unabated, and you have to believe that the Steelers’ brass are not very pleased about the attention he‘s getting. There’s an incredible level of irresponsibility about all this. Not that Roethlisberger is the worst offender. I saw a story over the weekend about cornerback Antonio Cromartie of the Jets, whose contract apparently had to be restructured to account for his child-support obligations. He’s 25 years old, and he already has seven children by six different women. Nice. Fortunately for the NFL, there are quality people like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Donovan McNabb playing in the league. Unfortunately for us Steelers fans, we have the quarterback with the moral, intellectual and emotional development of a 14-year-old.

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Blogger MJ said...

I think it's wise to wait until after the facts of the case are made public and whether charges are filed. There are several degrees of sexual assault (from rape to groping) and I think the exact details will explain what Ben allegedly did. Also remember, it's his word against hers. I think we should be skeptical of both sides until investigators produce an affidavit.

With that said, I think his career as a Steeler might be over if he's charged, and definitely if he is convicted.

March 9, 2010 at 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A 25-year-old with seven children by six different women???!! Lordy!

And you'd think with his salary, Roethlisberger could afford to actually pay his restaurant bills. Or even follow the example of Frank Sinatra, who was known to tip doormen $100 or $200.

--Brad Hundt

March 9, 2010 at 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do we keep acting surprised when so many superstar athletes, who have been treated differently and coddled since they first showed talent, fail to show common sense and act like adults? I understand that it takes special skills to throw a football to an exact spot 60 yards away at the same time a receiver arrives under it, but what does that do for humankind? A guy who works with the homeless or tutors disadvantaged kids has whole lot more impact that a football player. I'd like to see a highly paid attorney take this girl's case pro bono.

March 9, 2010 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger Dale Lolley said...

No lawyer is taking that case pro bono because of the possible money involved down the road.
While I agree that Roethlisberger needs to make much better decisions, I have yet to see any of the evidence in this case. I had a copy of the entire case against him in the Reno incident within hours of the filing. So at this point, very few people really know what happened.
As for his "posse," I wasn't aware that going out with a few friends - including at least one teammate from what I've been able to find out - constitutes a "posse." In fact, I don't know of too many people who like to go out at night to bars alone.
But I digress.

March 9, 2010 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

The accuser's lawyer just released a statement asking the media to not release her name. First of all, most reporters probably already know her name, but alleged sex assault victims are never identified by credible media agencies. If reporters were going to release her name, they would've done it days ago. I respect the media for following the code and not identifying her.

Secondly, why was the alleged female victim from Lake Tahoe identified by every TV/Internet source known to man? Why is there a double-standard in these two cases?

March 9, 2010 at 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess his girlfriend that he had when the first accusation came out dumped him? I haven't heard any mention of her in a while.

March 10, 2010 at 12:08 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

I saw Roethlisberger's lawyer on TV last night, and he refused to comment on whether the quarterback would talk with investigators or give a DNA sample. If you've got nothing to hide, why would you not cooperate with authorities?

March 10, 2010 at 6:40 AM  
Blogger Dale Lolley said...

I reported the woman's name from the Tahoe case because it was a civil suit not a criminal case. That was the difference in the two.
Had she first filed criminal charges, I would not have reported her name. But since she was only going after the money, she was fair game.

March 10, 2010 at 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly, Ben is a jerk. I rarely call people names, but I have to regress for this case. Frankly, I hope the case is quickly dispersed, Ben is found guilty, and he is sent packing. The Pittsburgh region needs to get focused on things that matter, and this isn't one of them.

Now, to go further, an even bigger jerk is the media, and the fans that follow the case with baited breath. Yea, I realize that I've used jerk a singular, when I refer to many. But, pass over my inability to find words that describe the stupid hysteria over this case. To think that local TV stations claim financial distress and cannot have much weekend coverage, and then send reporters to Georgia to talk with the local townspeople is the depths of wisdom. Why does this story lead the news every day since Friday (?) when it broke? Because the stations know it will get ratings. Why does it get ratings? Because people watch it. Pretty simple, huh?

Are Pittsburghers so shallow that this story appeals to them that they must watch every detail. Some of the stuff being reported about the town, about the mayor, and other happenings in the town is just absurd. With a region that desperately needs employment, economic growth, improved educational programs for children, and ( xxxxx you fill in the blank), this stupid story just takes the oxygen out of the air. There is not one thing, not one thing, that anybody here can do about this situation. Nobody can fix the problem, nobody can help Ben get his life together, or anything else related to the case. Yet, we find people clinging to the story like it was important.

Who cares? So what if Ben is guilty and leaves the team? The end of the world? The sun will still rise in the east and set in the west. The rain will fall on certain days, and the sun will shine on other days. None of this will depend upon the outcome of Ben's problem. People, get some priority to your time and energies. There are so many things in our neighborhoods that need our attention and resources. Why waste them on this story? Yes, the time is truly a waste -- and I've just spent five minutes too much writing this comment. Out.

March 10, 2010 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

When Ben first came to Pittsburgh and took over for Tommy Maddox, it was magical. And the Steeler's (2) Superbowl victories, with Ben, have been nothing short of spectacular. The pressures Ben has faced and conquered are astronomical, almost unimaginable. Ben has almost singlehandedly put the Steelers at the top of the NFL charts. He has been are savior.

Now, Ben needs our help. Dale, you have better access to him than anyone. Is there anyone you know who can influence or help Ben? He seems to have slid off the wagon, not with booze so much, but with young girls.

Ben may be in more trouble than any of us can imagine, but we can't just let him crash and burn. Does anybody have any suggestions of how we can rally around him and help him. He is obviously making some very poor choices.

In Proverbs 1, here is some sound advice for Ben-
Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.
My son, if sinners entice you,
do not give in to them. If they say, "Come along with us;let's lie in wait for someone's blood, let's waylay some harmless soul; let's swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;

Well, as you know, Ben isn't a serial killer, but you get the idea. Sometimes, it's who we associate with that determines our destiny.

Lets put our heads together and brainstorm some ways to help Ben. I know he's a bigshot and all, but he's still one of us.

March 11, 2010 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger mes said...

In the era when I was a young woman, we were all wary of the boys who would kiss and tell. We tried hard not to put ourselves in a place where our reputations could be compromised by an untrue story. Now the tables have been turned and the girls are doing the "kissing and telling" perhaps, and these athletes and other celebrities need to keep out of the compromising situations. Seems Ben doesn't value himself enough.

March 14, 2010 at 7:08 PM  

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