It seems like a really long time ago now, but Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed the first four games this season, not because of a concussion or a torn MCL or even a greedy contract holdout.
It’s because he is not very nice to women.
Some would say that he has even raped one or two of them, although he’s never actually been charged with that crime and you’re probably not going to hear that word repeated on any respectable countdown show. (It’s a very serious charge, but one that has been made against him twice now.)
Ben is not alone of course, A member of the Green Bay Packers was also accused of sexual assault last summer (that case is still in limbo) and several other teammates were mixed up in it, but not charged with any crime. And the NFL is filled with guys that have a history of not very nice behaviour to women. (Or animals. Or themselves.)
Yet, Ben and his opponents have all persevered. They’ve grown. They’ve learned their lessons. They wouldn’t be in the Super Bowl if they hadn’t, right?
Just the other day, Ben Roethlisberger was polite to a complete stranger, even though that the stranger is an absolute nobody and he is the quarterback of an AFC Champion. Sometimes the fact the a big time athlete chose not to humiliate a total stranger or, worse, completely refuse to acknowledge that other human’s existence on this planet sure says a lot about a man.
SAY WHAT YOU WILL ABOUT BEN ROETHLISBERGER … even if “what you will” is “Ben Roethlisberger is a rapist”? Of if “what you will” is “Ben Roethlisberger is a mediocre quarterback on an awesome team,” but the guy just wins. Even if he maybe wasn’t so nice to some people in the past.
The incident in Milledgeville was just last March and took place while a lawsuit from another woman for essentially the same crime was still in progress. (It’s still in progress by the way.) He hasn’t yet completed another offseason without a legal incident, but this time he gets it. We think.
Is he redeemed because he learned a valuable lesson about about how to treat other people? Or was it because he learned (with an assist from Michael Vick) how precious the right to play football is and that it should not be squandered? Or was it because he managed to find a way to not let his four-game suspension for a crime he feels he didn’t commit derail a run to the Super Bowl?
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