Thursday, March 11, 2010

Commenting on Roethlisberger

One week later, we're still not sure what happened between Ben Roethlisberger and a 20-year-old woman in the bathroom of a bar in Georgia.

But what we do know is this.

A. Roethlisberger has been pretty much found guilty in the court of public opinion.

B. No charges have yet been filed.

C. Everyone has an opinion about the situation.

I have put off commenting on the sexual assault charges lodged against Roethlisberger while waiting to see the evidence. But since it seems not to be forthcoming at this time, I feel I cannot wait any longer.

At this point, Roethlisberger is guilty of poor judgment, nothing else. While a number of people in Pittsburgh and elsewhere are calling for the NFL to suspend him and the Steelers to cut or trade him, the bottom line is that he hasn't even been charged with a crime.

Nor was he charged with a crime last summer when a Reno, Nevada woman claimed he raped her in a hotel room. Instead of filing criminal charges in that case, the woman filed a civil case, making it appear money was her main motivation.

That should have been the only life lesson that Roethlisberger needed. But he's a young guy in the prime of his life. He's famous. And I'm sure there are plenty of women out there who are willing to sleep with him just because he's rich and famous.

Does that mean he should hop in the sack with every one? Nope. There are some women out there who likely see him as nothing more than a big paycheck.

I'm not saying his accuser in Georgia is one of them. But many are automatically assuming that since she went directly to the police after the alleged event, she had no ulterior motive.

Maybe they should ask Jerome Bettis about that.

Bettis, you'll remember, was once accused of forcing a young lady to perform a sex act on him outside a Greensburg bar. She immediately went to the police.

It later turned out she had been put up to the whole thing by a relative who figured they could get a payoff out of Bettis.

Here's what we've been able to ascertain about the current case.

Roethlisberger, who owns a home in the area of this Georgia bar, has been known to go into that bar during the offseason.

Roethlisberger at this bar with a number of friends, among them Steelers offensive lineman Willie Colon and two off-duty Pennsylvania police officers.

His party was joined by a group of co-eds from a nearby college.

Something happened, in the women's bathroom of this bar between Roethlisberger and the young lady.

KDKA TV reports that "sources" tell them that Roethlisberger had admitted contact with the woman but said there was no intercourse.

The woman, meanwhile, went to a local hospital afterward to be treated for injuries.

According to the KDKA report, those same "sources" tell them that Roethlisberger said the woman fell and hit her head.

I have a great deal of respect for KDKA, but their information is third-hand. I'm sure they have vetted these sources, but unless they have seen a report from Roethlisberger's interview - which at some point will be made public if charges are filed - I have to treat them with some skepticism.

As for the argument that the 28-year-old Roethlisberger should not be hanging out at a college bar, I defy anyone who was single at 28 to tell me they never went to a bar that had a younger crowd.

Those people argue that it's "creepy." Again, would it be "creepy" had this alleged incident happened at a martini lounge populated by 40-something cougars?

It makes me question Roethlisberger's judgment, but it's not damning material.

I've also heard the argument put forth a number of times that somebody knew somebody who knew somebody else that said Roethlisberger wouldn't sign an autograph for them. Therefore, he's a jerk and guilty.

Nonsense. I've seen Roethlisberger be gracious. I've seen him be a jerk.

The bottom line is that I don't know him any more than he knows me. I may be around him more than the general public, but that doesn't mean I know him by any stretch of the imagination.

There are some Steelers players who are a little more friendly with the media that others. Roethlisberger is not one of them. Does that make him a bad guy? I don't know because I really don't know him.

Anyone in the media who does claim to know him is either stupid or fooling themselves.

The Steelers are upset that Roethlisberger is having yet another public incident. They thought he learned his lesson the last time.

People have also claimed that because Roethlisberger has hired a high-priced, high-profile attorney that he must be guilty. Ditto his leaving of the state and his lawyer's denial of giving a DNA sample.

With so much to lose, why wouldn't he hire a high-profile attorney? I know that Ben Matlock may have gotten better play in Georgia, but he wasn't available.

And any good attorney would delay having a client give DNA or an official statement as long as possible. It's just what they do. It neither proves nor disproves guilt.

So let's let the dust settle and wait and see if criminal charges are ever brought forth before we convict Roethlisberger of - at this point - anything more than poor judgment.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen brother.

alexrkirby said...

Well said.

SKINLEY said...

Nice article, Dale. Just curious, who are the friendly guys on the team?

Patrick said...

I agree with you for the most part. But this allegation is a lot stronger than the NV one.

Its almost a sure thing that these two were in the bathroom together. And she emerged with a head injury? Thats not good.

Its a he said/she said situation, of course, but if its a fact that she came out with an injury, it does not bode well for Ben.

You can call this poor judgment. I don't. I think its far worse. Ben likes to do his thing with the ladies. Fine, great, whatever. But this has already happened once and he does it again, after a night of being the talk of the town? Thats ignorance. Its stupid. Its so dumb that it is hard to describe. He has an attitude that no one can tell him shit and he will do what he wants.

I've lost some respect for this guy. Not because he sleeps with young girls, but because he is living on a separate planet with this attitude of his. You can't say after this that Ben doesn't think he is bigger than the team. If he truely thought that we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Anonymous said...

1. No charges have been filed, at least yet. Is that normal for accusations of this nature? I don't know. Still, because of this, it seems a bit premature to make judgements one way or another.

2. So, apparently the authorities there requested a DNA sample. If they really needed it, how come they didn't get a warrant for it?

Maybe there's a lot going on behind the scenes, but with such lack of details, it seems like a lot of peopel are rushing in with rumors. I'm not sure we can believe anything that is being said about this, unless someone is willing to go on the record.

Matthew said...

It's nice to see a person that believes in due process talking about this case. Also, hearing someone talk some common sense about him being in a bar of younger women as a newly 28 year old. It also was reported he was celebrating his 28th bday. I guess to all the saints out there, he should go play shuffle board in a nursing home now that he is so old. I have been trying to talk some sense into people. I hope your post does what I couldn't. Props to you Dale.

Dale Lolley said...

As for the head injury, Patrick, we're all just speculating. Again, until we see the official report, we won't know.

As for good guys and bad guys, I don't want to call anybody out or forget anyone. Generally, most of the guys are pretty good.
The starting quarterbacks have been a little different - with the exception of Maddox and Stewart late in his career - in terms of how friendly they were/are.
But that position has more demands put upon it.

Patrick said...

From what I've read, the head injury seemed like what she went to the hospital for. It would make sense, I don't think (and I'm not positive) that you get a rape kit for sexual assault. I'm not being a smart ass, but obviously then he would be charged with rape. She went to the hospital for something though.

And I did say if that head injury is indeed a fact.

Either way, hes taking girls he presumably never met before into bathrooms after the NV incident? Hard to defend him because its just that dumb.

Dale Lolley said...

I wasn't defending that. I said, that wasn't real smart.
But, it proves nothing.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Good article. Innocent til proven guilty in this country.

Anonymous said...

Nice article Dale.

I've heard people say Ben is a bit of a jerk. But it seems he signs a lot of autographs and lets fans take pictures with him frequently. This has got to be annoying. If you think telemarketers calling at dinner time is irksome imagine being approached by strangers wherever you go.

Anonymous said...

Dale, Agree with most of what you wrote. I would however point out that Ben is not an average 28 year old. He's a rich, high profile, superbowl winning, world class athelete. And to top that off, he's in the middle of defending himself in a sexual assault/rape case.

For him to go into a bar full of young college co-eds was beyond stupid but I'll grant you that's what single 28 year olds do in their free time, but to take one of them into a bathroom (even voluntarily) is so lacking in judgment that it begs for 2nd guessing and speculation.

I am big fan of "Big Ben" the football player but it's becoming increasingly difficult to like him as a person and leader of this football team. Not only has his selfish conduct reflected badly on him and his family but it has now become a circus sideshow that will impact the Pittsburgh Steelers and distract them from another run at a championship. That is unacceptable and deserves the contempt of the fans. Criminal conviction or no criminal conviction.

Dale Lolley said...

I totally agree and that's why the Steelers are upset. He's not only blemished his own image a great deal, but he's the face of this franchise as well.
In addition, this is a huge distraction.
He won't be able to play it off as easily as he did last season.

other_patrick said...

Dale,

I propose editing all out except 1st and last paragraphs.

If I may change the subject, could you perhaps entertain us with some speculation on where Nick Eason and Travis Kirschke might be playing in 2010?

dag said...

I admit that when 28 I went to bars frequented by early 20's girls, so that in itself is not bad/wrong. The problem comes when it's being some by somebody in a high profile position, making more in 1 year than a lot of people will see in their entire lives. Fair or not, without placing guilt or blame on either party in this case, he is a target and should use better judgment. He's the starting QB in the NFL, signed a $100 mil contract, and as much as it may suck for what he wants to do, the rules change, and not in his favor.
Every team has it's warts, but almost always it's not with the position that cannot be easily replaced.
He needs to grow up, and figure out how to act like a leader that he is supposed to be, because this type of thing will carry over in to the locker room and on the field.

Greg Mercer said...

not saying it will come to this, but does Art II have the authority to cut or trade Ben, or would Dan have to sign off on that?

Also, amongst Dan, Art, Colbert, and Tomlin, who would you say is Ben's biggest supporter, and who is most upset by this latest transgression?

keep up the good work Dale!

dag said...

GM -
You didn't mention Arians as a supporter, Ha! At this point I think his biggest "supporter" would be Tomlin. Most upset would be D. Rooney, even though I don't believe he's supposed to be involved in day-to-day business

Greg Mercer said...

you're right about Tomlin. in retrospect, i should have left him off that list and only listed the big 3.

hopefully Dale will be able to give us some insight without compromising his relationship with the FO.

Anonymous said...

Dale, Nice piece, but one minor correction. I believe you wrote Ben and the girl were in the women's bathroom. According to the bar owner, the bathroom in the VIP room is unisex. Maybe doesn't mean much, but there is a possibility she followed him there, or they went in together knowing it was the only private space.

Pgh. Saint said...

The biggest supporter of Ben now is an athletic supporter.
It looks like that is the part of his body that needs the most protection.

Anonymous said...

Any 28 year old or of whatever age that goes into a bar looking to have sex with a complete stranger in that bar's restroom is creepy and to say the least in poor character and judgment.

How can anyone wonder why so many in steeler fans feel that this is unacceptable?

marc said...

is there any timeline the georgia police have given as far as determining if they should file charges or not?

imo, there is something to be skeptical of both roethlisberger and the woman. i also have to think that since the police have not issued a warrant for roethlisberger's dna and have not filed any charges that they don't have much to go on right now.

with that said, i would have no problem with the rooney's shipping roethlisberger off to another team for high draft picks and players. all indications are that he is not the type of person leading and representing the steelers into the next decade.

Anonymous said...

whether or not he is charged with a crime his behavior is unacceptable. how many parents are going to let their kids walk around in a #7 steeler jersey anymore?

emac2 said...

I think my probelm is that the team is being led by an idiot that struggles to make adult decisions off the field and doesn't seem to understand that the money he makes is supposed to buy more then on field skills.

Can we count on someone who seems to either put his life or freedom at risk every year?

The bottom line for me is that the Steelers should know who Ben is by now and I'll support whatever decision they make but I'm now offically embarrassed by his actions as a fan and defender of the Steelers faith and winning will never be enough to keep me rooting for players/people I do not respect.

Comparing a hundred million dollar employee who is the face and leader of your company to some stupid 28 year olds decisions about bars and dating is pretty lame BTW.

adamg said...

Stupid is as stupid does. That pretty much sums up Big Ben.

marc said...

emac,
i'm not understanding your last paragraph?

emac2 said...

The last paragraph related to Dale comparing Ben to a normal 28 year old going to a bar full of minors.

Most 28 year olds aren't paid to even think about the things Ben needs to think about as a public figure let alone as the face of a very honerable company.

Let alone as a rich peerson that will have hundreds of people planning how to relieve you of your money, job and respect.

Anonymous said...

emac2 good point. and Dale this is why many fans want ben gone regardless if he committed a crime or not. He is being paid over $100 million dollars to be the face of and QB for the best organization in the NFL. His behavior brings shame and dishonor to the brand. His off field behavior shows repeated poor judgment. Not an employee I would want to represent me if I were a Rooney.

marc said...

i completely agree with both of you.

Greg Mercer said...

shame and dishonor?

the guy has NEVER been charged with ANYTHING!!!

EVER!!!

Tim said...

"I am big fan of 'Big Ben' the football player but it's becoming increasingly difficult to like him as a person and leader of this football team."

That's true. I've never liked him as a person. Not that I "know" him either, but he just comes off as a big fat entitled phony. Even without all the accusations, he still seems like a jerk to me. And when he blamed Mewelde Moore for his (Ben's) mental error at the end of a half one time, I lost any lingering respect I had for him as a person.

Doesn't mean I want him off the team. Lots of guys are jerks, or come across as one on TV. I didn't like Joey Porter, but he was a good player. Not sorry to see him go. As long as he's just a stupid jerk, keep him around. If he actually did something... get him out of here.

Tim said...

P.S. -- Good article.

Robert said...

With all due respect, the fact that he has not been charged with anything is not cause for celebration. Setting the bar at -- "did he commit a crime or not" -- is setting the bar pretty low!

"Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me!" So yeah, even if you you believe he is a victim of a gold digger I'd say some shame is in order.

As for my own thoughts ... wait and see ... My limited exposure to the media has taught me what I read is not always an accurate reflection of the truth. [present company not included :-)]


Thanks again for the blog Dale.

Patrick said...

Last week I thought the need for a QB was a bit absurd. But I'm changing my thoughts on that.

Currently, the Steelers have Ben and Dixon.

I'll assume Batch will be back, but he can't take a snap without something "snapping" (ZING).

I'm ok with Dixon starting, but you have to have somebody else who knows the offense and could step in.

This all of course assumes that Ben is going to miss some time during the season and it is way too early to know that.

Anonymous said...

I hope Big Ben rapes Patrick next

Patrick said...

yeh rape is really funny, idiot.

Anonymous said...

Yea I would call it shameful to have sexual contact with a stranger in a bar bathroom for anyone let alone for someone who is paid millions to represent the team in a positive light

Dale Lolley said...

I think everyone in the front office has been a Ben supporter. That's why they gave him the big contract. That said, both head coaches have tried to reign Ben in some and get him to toe the line.
Ben doesn't necessarily want to do that. He's got a little Jim McMahon in him in that he wants to do things his own way. He doesn't want to be told what to do.
NFL contracts do, however, have morality clauses in them. If Ben were charged and convicted of this, it could cause his contract to be voided and he may have to pay back some of the signing bonus. Obviously, we're not even close to that point.

As for Kirschke and Eason, I wouldn't be surprised to see Kirschke hang it up. Eason could be back.

Mike said...

The Steelers know that I'm a pretty typical fan. My wife bought me a #7 jersey during Ben's rookie year. We got my now 8 year old a #7 before the super bowl that year. We had great fun wearing those around town (especially since we live in Seahawk land). We won't be wearing those anymore. And I hate, hate, hate trying to explain what has been happening to Ben to my 8 and 10 year old. I don't enjoy being a Steeler fan right now, and frankly I would find it enjoyable to talk to my boys about why the Steelers have dumped Ben.

Greg Mercer said...

Ben will NOT face charges.

put your emotions aside for a second and think about it logically.

what new evidence are the cops going to uncover that they don't already have?

interviewing Ben will be a waste of time because his lawyer isn't going to let him say anything.

what is the accuser going to tell them that they don't already know? IMO, the more she talks the weaker her case gets because her story may change.

Ben and the accuser were alone. So there are no eye witnesses to subpoena.

surely, the cops have reviewed the videotapes by now and didn't find anything there.

to my knowledge, they're not accusing him of rape. so i don't know why they want his DNA.

if he had visible wounds indicative of a struggle, i really don't think they would have let him walk.

true, she was treated at a hospital, but her wounds must not have been suspicious, or else why would her lawyers say they "hope there is a case".

not saying Ben is innocent, but i just don't see the evidence to charge him let alone convict him.

i think Dale is spot on in his advice to not rush to judgment.

and for all you fans who have already locked him up and thrown away the key, i'll be curious to see how you react when Ben and the Steelers win another Superbowl.

Anonymous said...

In a situation like this you have to assume either Ben is guilty or the girl is a liar.
The first time that woman gave a lot of reasons to believe she's a liar.

What has this girl done to say she's a liar?

I'm a lifetime Steelers fan and will remain a Steelers fan. Was a Ben fan, but as a woman I can no longer be a fan of Bens. At the least he has zero respect for women.

I can't remember any other NFL QB being accused of sexual assault or rape once much less twice.

People can make excuses for him all they want but it's pretty obvious he's doing something wrong, having sex and treating them like crap or being crude towards them. Every QB has a target on their chest yet they don't find themselves in these situations. Either because they make sure to never be alone with a woman or they treat women with respect.
I will respect what the Steelers decide with Ben as it won't be an easy decision with the money invested and how much it would set them back as they've built the team around him.
But Ben pisses me off that he put them in that position.

Greg Mercer said...

the thing that pisses me off the most is that the charge of "sexual assault" is so vague that it could mean almost anything.

i don't know why the cops won't say what the allegation is that they are investigating.

IMO, that is pretty bush league.

Patrick said...

I don't know GA law, but rape could be under sexual assualt or vice versa. I really don't know though, and I kind of doubt that is the case.

I would like to know her exact accusation too, but we won't know that until charges are filed, if they even are. If no charges are filed then we probably will never know the details.

Anonymous said...

According to Georgia Laws:

§ 17-5-70. Definitions
(3) "Sexual assault" means rape, sodomy, aggravated sodomy, statutory rape, child molestation, aggravated child molestation, sexual assault against a person in custody, sexual assault against a person detained in a hospital or other institution, sexual assault by a practitioner of psychotherapy against a patient, incest, bestiality, sexual battery, and aggravated sexual battery as those terms and offenses are set forth and defined in Chapter 6 of Title 16.

Anonymous said...

So of the definitions, he could only be charged with rape, sexual battery or aggravated sexual battery.

Penalties for each:
§ 16-6-1. Rape
(b) A person convicted of the offense of rape shall be punished by death, by imprisonment for life without parole, by imprisonment for life, or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life. Any person convicted under this Code section shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.

§ 16-6-22.1. Sexual battery

(a) For the purposes of this Code section, the term "intimate parts" means the primary genital area, anus, groin, inner thighs, or buttocks of a male or female and the breasts of a female.

(b) A person commits the offense of sexual battery when he or she intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another person without the consent of that person.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of sexual battery shall be punished as for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(d) A person convicted of the offense of sexual battery against any child under the age of 16 years shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

(e) Upon a second or subsequent conviction under subsection (b) of this Code section, a person shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than one nor more than five years and, in addition, shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

§ 16-6-22.2. Aggravated sexual battery

(a) For the purposes of this Code section, the term "foreign object" means any article or instrument other than the sexual organ of a person.

(b) A person commits the offense of aggravated sexual battery when he or she intentionally penetrates with a foreign object the sexual organ or anus of another person without the consent of that person.

(c) A person convicted of the offense of aggravated sexual battery shall be punished by imprisonment for life or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life, and shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.

Patrick said...

there it is, good looks on the info. Doesn't really go in Ben's favor - unless she is accusing they had sex and there is absolustely no evidence of sexual contact

Anonymous said...

All I can say as a life long Steeler fan born and raised in Cleveland is that I absolutely hate the fact that Ben refuses to grow up on and off the field. These sort of things are a pattern that his lifestyle choices open him to and he does not appriciate the gift of a life that he does have. On the field the same thing, he refuses to make decisions in a timely fashion and while everyone is impressed with his scrambling and making plays he is most impressive in the 2 minute drill when he is throwing on time and within the offensive scheme. I would like to be able to judge Ariens offensive scheme but Ben is always ab-libbing out of it. He frustrats me soooo much and its getting harder to root for this guy.

Dale Lolley said...

The cop at the original press conference said there was no rape. I'm pretty sure we can throw bestiality and some of the other definitions out as well - perhaps.

Anonymous said...

Maybe not rape, but what about attempted rape?
The cop also kept saying sexual assault, but then sexual assault is listed as all of the above.

I don't think you can rule out sodomy either according to the definition of sodomy.

§ 16-6-2. Sodomy; aggravated sodomy; medical expenses

(a) (1) A person commits the offense of sodomy when he or she performs or submits to any sexual act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.

(2) A person commits the offense of aggravated sodomy when he or she commits sodomy with force and against the will of the other person or when he or she commits sodomy with a person who is less than ten years of age. The fact that the person allegedly sodomized is the spouse of a defendant shall not be a defense to a charge of aggravated sodomy.

(b) (1) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of sodomy shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years and shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

(2) A person convicted of the offense of aggravated sodomy shall be punished by imprisonment for life or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life. Any person convicted under this Code section of the offense of aggravated sodomy shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.

(c) When evidence relating to an allegation of aggravated sodomy is collected in the course of a medical examination of the person who is the victim of the alleged crime, the law enforcement agency investigating the alleged crime shall be financially responsible for the cost of the medical examination to the extent that expense is incurred for the limited purpose of collecting evidence.

(d) If the victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years of age and the person convicted of sodomy is 18 years of age or younger and is no more than four years older than the victim, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall not be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

I can't believe this is a crime in Georgia.
§ 16-6-18. Fornication

An unmarried person commits the offense of fornication when he voluntarily has sexual intercourse with another person and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.

Boogers McRib said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BlackNGold said...

^^^^ LoL, trolls. Why, because they've won it so many times before? Twice right?

EMT said...

Roethlisberger will be suspended by the league regardless of whether criminal charges are filed. The facts on the table are that he was trying to get his dick wet - with a stranger - in a public place - while facing a civil lawsuit for sexual assault.

The only question now is how long the suspension will be and that will be answered as the facts play out. To say criminal charges have to be filed for the league to act seems naive. The best case scenario is that she set him up but the facts that I laid out are grounds for a suspension and I'm not sure how anyone could argue with that.

Dale Lolley said...

If there are no criminal charges, he will not be suspended. Hell, anybody can be sued. And plenty of those cases will be settled out of court just to make them go away. Doesn't mean they were true or false. Just means the defendant and his attorneys thought it was more prudent - or cheaper - to settle up front rather than go to court.

Hope Demain said...

Definitely poor judgment. One would think with that kind of success and money he would be more cautious, rather than less.

It is common in today's regular diet of scandal and reality television that anyone accused in public would be assumed guilty, not innocent. At the same time, it would be frustrating to have to restrict your life and activities if you were innocent of any wrong doing.

As a parent of someone who was accused of a crime (no charges ever pressed/filed, etc.), who dealt with the backlash and rumor within that small town, I applaud the even-handed way this is put forth. Thank you for reminding everyone that, regardless of how exciting it might be to do it the other way, in this country it is innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent.