Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Apparently, athletes are the slowest learners.
If they learn, at all.
How many people would have guessed that shortly after Plaxico Burress landed himself in jail, that another high profile jock would think about fooling around with guns in a place where they are not allowed?
Hello, Gilbert Arenas.
How many people would have guessed that with a sexual assault case still pending in Nevada, Steelers QB Ben Roesthlisberger would decide that there's no harm in going to a nearby college town in Georgia and cruising for some sorority sweater?
Now the QB who loves to hold onto the ball way too long, a guy whose signature move is shrugging off lineman with one arm to heave a last ditch pass, is looking at the biggest sack of his career.
If this current woman's story is credible, and if she can follow through (unlike the Kobe accuser) then Big Ben's career is done. Finished. He's going to jail.
If not, then Ben will play again. But his image will never be the same. And it shouldn't be.
Because Big Ben is a drunk.
This is not even debatable. In addition to photos all over the internet (like the one above) and now these twin "incidents" involving drunken libido gone over-the-edge, it is clear that the guy can't manage his liquor.
Okay, now, go ahead with the argument that "he's only 28, dude, and he's not married! What do you want him to do, stay at home and read a book!?"
Oldest excuse in the internet age. Lamest, too.
If you want to be a club-hopping playboy-athlete in today's camera-phone age, then you better accept the fact that you aren't going to be fit to endorse anything. And you better have a great criminal defense attorney on retainer.
Big Ben may feel young, act young, and wonder "what's all the fuss, I'm just a normal guy" when he goes cruising for fun in Milledgeville, GA. But he's not. He's a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback. While he is not obligated to act like an arrogant ass when he's in public, he ought to know that he actually IS sports royalty.
And royalty does not do jello shooters with commoners.
It would be another thing entirely if Big Ben were a tight end, or a lineman. Hey, football players, will be football players.
But he's not. He's a quarterback. That's a leadership position. The next time a guy like Santonio Holmes gets busted for smoking weed, what is Big Ben gonna say?
"Come on, man, we're pros."
Or will he say, "Dude, got any to share?"
We'll see how the Steelers handle this. For now, they are sitting back, waiting for the "facts" to come in. But the relevant facts are indeed, already in. Your quarterback is a drunk, with exceptionally poor judgment, who has embarrassed the franchise. This is, further evidence not needed, simply un-acceptable.
A statement to that effect, can and should have been released already.
The legal wheels will turn on their own schedule. But in the meantime, a franchise and fan base that preens on their reputation of class and conservatism in the NFL, should just shut their yaps the next time they decide to get on their soap-box about how they do things "the right way."