- Friday, March 26, 2010 12:11 AM
- Written By: Steve Silver
I tried as hard as I could to stay out of the whole Ben Roethlisberger situation, because pretty much everyone who has a voice or a keyboard has already said so much.
But the other night my mom brought it up. Yes, this is how crazy Pittsburghers are. Even moms think of the Steelers’ players as their own children.
Basically she thinks the Steelers should cut Roethlisberger because he is an idiot and is ruining the team’s reputation. She’s right. He is an idiot and he is hurting the reputation of one of the model franchises in the NFL. Yet, that is no reason to cut him.
I explained to my mom that the Steelers and most NFL teams would have to cut half of their rosters if we were basing the privilege to play professional football on personal conduct/criminal behavior. Just look at Pittsburgh’s last Super Bowl victory. Big Ben (multiple accusations of sexual assault) throws the winning pass to Santonio Holmes (marijuana possession, domestic abuse) and Jeff Reed (multiple public intoxication citations) kicks the extra point.
Unfortunately this is the harsh reality of professional sports. We want our athletes to be heroes. We want them to be role models. We want them to actually appreciate the millions of dollars they earn.
Really we want them to be guys our moms would like.
Yet I know, and a lot of sports fan now know, this is extremely unrealistic.
Look at the latest report from the NFL combine that pot smoking is an “epidemic” at the Draft Combine.
What are the GMs supposed to do? Pass on the best talent because of this? No, of course not. Heck, Ricky Williams eventually turned it around.
Athletes are athletes. They are paid to perform. They are not paid to be civic leaders or role models. If you want it that way, then start trying to remake our entire society.
If any parents are reading this -- and I know my mom is -- I realize there not many “role model” worthy people left in the world, but please do not make it a professional athlete.
So what will happen with Big Ben? He’ll probably escape criminal charges, but he might receive a suspension from Roger Goodell. Either way, he’ll continue to play for the Steelers. As will so many others with actual, official criminal records.
I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s the way it is, so get over it.