Monday, March 29, 2010
Something's got to give in Roethlisberger case
So, the Pittsburgh Steelers' offseason condition program began today. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported last night that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will indeed not be reporting to the program, deflating the collective ballon of those who were hoping to hear from the over-sized, "gee-I-look-like-a-normal-dude" superstar.
Tony Kornheiser had Washington Post sports reporter Mark Maske on his radio show last Wednesday and discussed an issue that only a select few have decided to tackle: The divide between how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has responded to this particular incident in comparison with, oh, say Pacman Jones, and the racial undercurrent of such an issue that was initially tackled by the often rambunctious Jamele Hill.
"Ben Roethlisberger is not unlike Pacman Jones in the sense that Pacman Jones was never convicted of anything, but kept getting in trouble, kept being talked to by the police, and Goodell said, 'you know what, enough is enough, and I'm suspending this dope for a while.' ... You can't have a double standard of justice for a black defensive back and a white quarterback, and the players are going to say, 'wait a second now.' ...This can very easily become racial politics, don't you think?" the PTI host asked.
"I think it's true," Maske responded. "The personal conduct policy empowers the commissioner to act before the legal process is played out. It empowers the commissioner to impose league discipline even if the player is not charged with a crime. That comparison to the handling of the Pacman Jones case .... I think all of those things will come up. All of those things will be talked about, and those will have to be factors that are taken into consideration when the time comes to make the decision on Roethlisberger."
Then, of course, there's this, and there's this. Interesting, isn't it? OTAs begin April 19. When's he going to show? When's he going to talk? The longer he waits, is Goodell more inclined to dish a punishment out? That said, if he's innocent, why hasn't he rushed to clear his name, much like he did the last time he found himself in this type of mess.
This isn't Marc Bulger, Alex Smith, Tyler Palco or even Tony Romo. This is a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback who can't dodge controversy no matter how hard his team of handlers try, and no matter how polished the Rooney's idea of the Pittsburgh Steelers may be perceived. Something's got to give, but who's going to be the first to give it? Roethlisberger and a hollow apology? Or Goodell and a legacy-damaging suspension?
Remember how low Pacman Jones sunk? No? This may help.