Thursday, April 22, 2010
So Let's Just Say....
Big Ben Roethlisberger's night in Milledgeville went down exactly as the accuser and police report describe it.
This is quite a leap, remember, because the one account of said night we have yet to put officially on the record, is that of the accused, Big Ben himself.
But let's go ahead and consider it all gospel, but with one small twist.
Instead of the woman claiming she might have been raped in that bathroom in a near blackout condition, let's say she was happy to have "bagged" an NFL star, and was desperately hoping she'd become a Big Ben Baby Momma.
And she posted absurdly embarassing photos of the encounter all over her Facebook page.
Big Ben's ugly junk, an NFL QB hunched over a crapper with his pants down, a 20 year old college student with slot machine eyes sprawled half naked on the dirty floor of a bar bathroom.
On the internet. Forever.
Wow. Embarassing, eh? I guess Roger Goodell would have to rush in and "defend the shield" as the saying is now fashionable.
“I recognize that the allegations in Georgia were disputed and that they did not result in criminal charges being filed against you. My decision today is not based on a finding that you violated Georgia law, or on a conclusion that differs from that of the local prosecutor. That said, you are held to a higher standard as an NFL player, and there is nothing about your conduct in Milledgeville that can remotely be described as admirable, responsible, or consistent with either the values of the league or the expectations of our fans.”
That statement from Goodell is equally applicable to a retracted claim of rape, or the hypothetical Baby-Momma-Facebook drama I outlined above.
So in essence, the Commissioner of the #1 sports league in the world is now going to start suspending players based on the NFL's lofty - yet undefined - "league values."
Back when Fred Smoot led a dozen or so fellow Vikings on the sex boat cruise that went horribly, morally wrong, was that something "admirable, responsible or consistent with the values of the league?"
There were no suspensions. Only a single docked game check for Smoot and Bryant McKinnie.
I know, times are a changin'. Thank you, Pac Man Jones, Michael Vick, Plaxico Burress et al. But Goodell has stepped out onto creaky limb that simply cannot hold the weight of his ego.
Many black players, and black pundits in the sports media sphere had been implying or outright crying "racism" for years on the NFL's amorphous "conduct policy." Never mind that there never was a clear cut "White Pac Man" that somehow escaped suspension because of skin color.
There was just a clamor to bag a prominent white player with a significant suspension.
Well, they got it. But I'm afraid it'll only hurt future NFL miscreants, the majority of whom have been black. Thanks in large part, to the inescapable fact that the league is 65% black.
This is not profiling. This is math.
I don't so much pity Big Ben, but the poor bastard who is the NEXT NFL player to get slightly crooked with the law. The bar of evidence has now been set so low, I can't imagine how the league's next Leonard Little or Dante Stallworth will survive a lifetime ban.
Most chilling yet, is the league stepping in to mandate that Ben undergo a "personal evaluation." Lester Munson, the sharpest knife in all of sports media law these days, says the union will likely not sit well with that.
"The union will challenge the six-game suspension, but its real challenge will be to the demand for a behavioral evaluation, likely to be a degrading requirement for Roethlisberger. It is a new form of punishment, and the union will want to send a signal that it is not happy with this level of invasion into the life of one of its players. Roethlisberger obviously will be put into the NFL's substance abuse program with its weekly and even daily alcohol checks, but the total evaluation requirement takes this a step beyond the alcohol program. My expectation is that the union will file a grievance and demand an arbitration. Only if Roethlisberger objects to the grievance will the union drop it. He might want to avoid further examination of the incident and show some level of contrition by waiving the grievance."
Look, my personal opinion is that Big Ben is a dopey, stubborn loser, with a severe drinking problem. I'd prefer if he just stepped up and said:
"Look, give me the full six game suspension, and keep your counseling. I've got a drinking problem, and I am going to stop. I'll be checking into AA immediately, and I'll deal with this on my own. As a man. My side of the story that night in Georgia is very different from what has been said and reported so far, but you know what, that doesn't matter apparently, so I'm gonna keep it to myself. Lesson learned. I'm a big boy, I'll take my punishment. Have a good day."
Meanwhile, Playmakers The Reality Show continues, even though the league shut down the scripted version on ESPN all those many years ago.
Roger Goodell is now fully invested into "doin' good." And as we know from the movie "The Outlaw Josey Wales:" "Doin' good, 'aint got no end."