Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Roethlisberger, III

This is rough for me.

I'm a big fan of our justice system. I see all the flaws that it's got, but with all of the various crap we've done in the last ten years, I've never, ever been more sure that due process and presumption of innocence are a big part of what keep us (relatively) safe and free. So when that DA basically said "Ben is guilty, but we can't charge him," I thought that was dishonorable and aggravating. In our country, if you think someone is guilty, you charge him or you shut the hell up. You don't get to just fling around slander (an overused word that I actually mean in this case) because you don't have evidence you wish you did. Especially in this case, implying or stating that someone famous is guilty of a crime when he was not even charged is legally just a cheap shot.

But Ben Roethlisberger is a meathead. A moron. A d-bag. And many, many other things, none of which are good. And I totally agree with Matt and Franco that I want the asshole out.

I don't know that I agree with Franco that Ben got off because of his legal team; it certainly helped, but DAs have had a lot of trouble prosecuting he-said, she-said cases in the past, and I don't know that, given the fact chain, that this case was ever winnable as long as it's two people in a room and everyone's drinking. On a broader level, I don't even know that I have a solution as to how a justice system is supposed to handle those situations in a way that resembles fair, so I guess I can't even say I'm disappointed in the justice system in this case.

I do completely agree with Franco that an NFL suspension doesn't seem to do much here. If the accuser were my friend, or sister, or daughter, I can't imagine knowing that Ben would miss a few games would make my pain any easier. And - though this is less important - if Ben were my friend, I can't imagine finding it fair that someone who has never been charged with anything, let alone proved of any wrongdoing, would be suspended under the same policy that suspended guys who brought guns into clubs. Again, we have a system, we have to stick to it even when we're not sure it got the right answer.

And Ben's a tool. I think we can all agree that him doing anything that could ever be described as "honorable" is pretty much out the door.

So the only entity left that can take any action is the Steelers.

I don't know how you ask an NFL team to ship its multiple-championship quarterback out of town, especially in a circumstance where they can almost certainly not get value for him. And yet, if a Rooney were here, that's precisely what I'd ask of them. Get him out because he's an entitled punk. Get him out because he clearly can't put a team first and act like a professional. Get him out because he's slowing down and doesn't seem to want to work. Get him out for all the reasons Matt and Franco said. Get him out because he's an embarrassment.

Of course, I don't think that will happen.

I think the Steelers will let some time go by, announce that they're sitting him for a few games, give him a stern talking to, and hope that he realizes he should start acting like an adult. I suppose it is even possible Ben will learn from this enough to keep his head down, run some sprints, and start thinking about how he'll be a decent quarterback when, as Matt eloquently stated, he's lost a couple steps on rush ends. He'll maybe even do some community work. People will forget.

I always said that I'd rather lose with character guys than win with thugs, and deep down I always wondered if I was just full of it. With regard to Ben, I absolutely would rather take a few losing seasons than continue on with him. But I also know that that's not a popular viewpoint with fans of every stripe. In Pittsburgh, we get spoiled. We have come to believe we are different, that we can win with character guys all the time. It's why we think of ourselves as the class of the NFL. But any time your franchise quarterback thinks he can go into a bathroom and grope someone because he's a star, you aren't the class of anything.

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