Monday, March 08, 2010

Madden Monday: Big Ben guilty ... of poor judgment

By Mark Madden
Beaver County Times
Monday March 8, 2010 12:13 AM

Wayne Gretzky had a rule: Never get on an elevator with exactly one other person. Avoid he said, he/she said.

It’s a rule Ben Roethlisberger would do well to adopt.

I don’t believe Roethlisberger is capable of what he’s accused of in Georgia, won’t believe it until he’s convicted and maybe not even then. Good man. Not within his character.

Sporting News Magazine Oct. 09 - Ben Roethlisberger, the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl and Sidney Crosby, the youngest captain in NHL to win the Stanley Cup.

Shame on those who say, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” I doubt that will be the prosecution’s opening statement.

Shame, too, on Pittsburghers who gleefully tear down a man who merits iconic status.
All Roethlisberger has done for Pittsburgh is win. He deserves support, not scorn.
Yet ingrates run forward to chop off his legs, doubtless in a vain attempt to make themselves feel taller.

Perhaps Roethlisberger should just hit women. That’s what James Harrison did, and the Steelers handed him a $10 million signing bonus.

If Roethlisberger is surely guilty of anything, it’s bad judgment. Again.

Roethlisberger has got to stop putting himself in situations where trouble can be manufactured, or inferred where none exists.

Roethlisberger is also guilty of putting another nail in the coffin of the Steelers’ supposed high moral standard. The notion that the Steelers employ a better class of person is clearly deceased.

The amount of unsavory incidents involving Steelers has been overwhelming over the last half-decade or so. Besides Roethlisberger:

* Barrett Brooks, fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, other traffic violations.

* Najeh Davenport, domestic abuse.

* Harrison, domestic abuse.

* Santonio Holmes, domestic abuse, possession of marijuana.

* Jeff Reed, disorderly conduct.

* Matt Spaeth, public urination.

* Cedrick Wilson, domestic abuse.

Those are just the ones you know about. I know additional scenarios that would curl your hair.

The Steelers’ reaction depends on how good you are. Harrison and Wilson were involved in domestic abuse incidents 11 days apart. Wilson was cut, Harrison wasn’t. Dan Rooney famously tried to excuse Harrison’s actions because they were committed in an attempt to have his son baptized.

It’s the only time I’ve heard the Steelers’ distinguished owner sound downright foolish.

The Steelers need to get control of their players. They’re closer to Cincinnati Bengals territory than anyone named Rooney would care to admit. The recent run of shenanigans reflects especially poorly on coach Mike Tomlin, who clearly doesn’t inspire the same fear and respect among his players that Bill Cowher did.

The NFL may well suspend Roethlisberger for repeated headaches. Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t need guilt to punish, or to protect the league’s image. If Roethlisberger doesn’t get some sanction, it’s going to look like the NFL disciplines only black players.

Say Roethlisberger misses four games. Think the Steelers’ season would survive that?

Penguins executive Frank Buonomo’s duties informally include looking after Sidney Crosby — who, ironically, needs no such minding. No young athlete has ever handled stardom better.

Maybe the Steelers need to have someone devote their time to keeping Roethlisberger out of harm’s way. Away from situations that lead to the consequences of Thursday night.

Assuming it’s not too late for help to make a difference.

Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM (105.9).

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