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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What in the world is going on with the Steelers?

I've had the question posed to me a number of times: "What's going on with the Steelers? Why are so many guys getting in trouble?"

The answer has many facets.

First and foremost is the fact that players in the NFL today make more money and are better-known than at any other time in league history.

Football in the past couple of decades surpassed baseball as America's favorite sport and in this digital age where sponsors are constantly using stars to sell their wares and ESPN constantly brings these guys into America's living rooms, NFL players are more well-known than ever before.

Not only does that make them celebrities, it makes them targets.

At the same time, the money and fame can inflate egos, making a guy that was perhaps humble at one time, change over the course of a few years. In 17 years of covering the NFL, I've seen it happen again and again.

Money and the salary cap also become a factor. Teams can get rid of coaches or front office people a lot easier than they can players. The players know this and, if they so choose, can take advantage of it.

The other thing about the digital age is that not only does it allow the media to perform its job more easily - making plenty of information readily available - it also allows for forums such as this one to discuss at great length anything that comes up.

I'm not saying that's a bad things. Fans should have places they can go to talk to others of a like mind. But, it does allow for the flames to be fanned on issues.

And because information is so readily available, things cannot be covered up or hidden as easily as they could, say, 10 to 20 years ago.

Think about it this way: Remember Penn State's squeaky-clean image of 20 years ago. Now think about the trouble Penn State players have gotten into in recent years. Think those kind of things - frat fights, public intoxication, etc. – didn't happen before? It's now much more difficult for things to be swept aside.

There have always been guys who get in trouble on every professional team's roster. When you are dealing with that many people - particulary young men, they are going to do some stupid things.

And let's face it, the NFL isn't populated by choir boys. These guys are playing in the NFL because they're stronger, faster, tougher than 99.9 percent of the population. In many cases, they've been pampered throughout their lives because of that.

But they also have to be smart enough to know that they cannot put themselves into situations where they not only jeopardize their own character and/or wealth, but also the image of the league and their respective team.

This current group of Steelers has had its share of run-ins, both minor and major, with the law. And that is out of character for a team that has prided itself on not having players like that.

But it's not a problem that is foreign to all NFL teams or sports teams in general.

What can the team do about it? Short of releasing every player who has an indiscetion, something that's not likely to happen, it can pull in the reigns on these guys and also educate them better on what will and will not be tolerated.

When a player is guaranteed a large sum of money, he begins to feel as if he's bullet proof. And professional athletes feel that way already. If they didn't, they would not be able to do many of the things they do in their respective sports.

Has Mike Tomlin given this team too much freedom in terms of treating them like men and professionals? Perhaps.

But the reality is that there's not a lot he can do short of releasing offenders outright - again, something that's not going to happen in every case.

He's in the business of coaching a football team, not babysitting.


Anonymous said...

well put

Anonymous said...

Holmes' accuser is a loon. Read up on her.

Anonymous said...

Holme's accuser may be a loon but so is Holmes. Read his comments on twitter.
I can't believe somebody hasn't told him to shutup already.

As to athletes thinking they're bullet proof obviously that fits Holmes to a tee.

Telling people to go kill themselves.
LHAO all the way to the bank.
Fans don't sign his checks.

Where is the "good daddy" who wanted all the publicity after the SB. You know the one who went on every TV show saying how he didn't celebrate, but spent the time with his son watching a cartoon movie.

Regardless if the woman is a loon, regardless if he threw a glass at her or not. If he had been playing the "good daddy" role that he wanted to convince people he is, he would have been home with his kids instead of in some VIP bar room.

The perception is out there that the Steelers are just as bad as the Bengals and the Cowboys. The Rooneys and the Steelers names are being drug through the mud because of two stupid idiots. Yet many fans are screaming how they should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Ben and Santonio both are pathetic and an embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

There's your first mistake, hyping the "Steeler Way".

The Rooney's have always had "problem children" on their roster. This whole notion that the Rooney's don't tolerate BS from their players and they just rid themselves of them has to stop.

I suggest reading up on the history of this team and the guys they've had on it.

That way you see, you won't look like an idiot.

Anonymous said...

I just love how Steelers fans in order to try and defend two idiots need to try and trash the team and former players.

The Steelers may have had players that weren't upstanding citizens, but they have tried to have good character guys. They don't go out searching for the troublemakers.

Ben and Santonio have given the Steelers and the Rooneys a black eye.
Fans who I'm sure in the past have argued with Ravens and Bengals fans in the past about the image of the Steelers are I'm sure now the one's who want to say it's always been that way in order to defend two idiots.

Whether fans want to admit it or not. Regardless of guilt or innocence, Ben and Santonio put themselves in situations to be accused. Santonio is not helping his cause by tweeting comments that leave no doubt he's an idiot. The perception is now out there that the Steelers are no better than the Bengals or the Cowboys of the 90's.
Maybe some fans don't care. But I don't think the Rooneys are happy that the perception they have built of being a team that does it the right way is being tarnished.

Anonymous said...

And my point is that the perception needs to stop.

Ernie Holmes shot a cop, and he was indicted for cocaine possession in a 4 year span.

He stayed.

Eric Green flunked two coke tests.

He stayed.

Jerry Nuzum was indicted for MURDER.

He stayed.

And there are many more.

The Rooney's don't do it the "right way".

They do it just like everybody else.

And that's fine. Not a big deal.

But people should realize it.

Hell the Rooney Empire is partially built by making money in the gambling business.

You think they would give some gambling addict who blew his life savings at their dog track their money back?

I don't think so.


Anonymous said...


Really enjoyed your thoughts on the matter. I think the main point is that these are grown men who make mistakes just like everyone else. I refuse to hold them to any higher standard than my friends/family/co-workers who tend to mess up more than I care to count.

Anonymous said...

The Rooney's are not somehow victims of these players behavior. Ownership has control. If they are so embarrassed of the tarnished image BB and Holmes are causing their "family built franchise" . . . then cut ties with them. If, however, you care more about winning games then keep them, have more embarrassing episodes potentially pop up in the future and honestly be just like the bengals and most other teams in the NFL.

marc said...

i agree with many of you that this type of stuff has always happened and every team has its problems. but, perception does become reality and the steelers will start losing their casual fans because of it. how many mom's are going to let their kid wear #7 jerseys to school? for that matter, how many parents are going to go out and get #7 jerseys as a gift for kids right now?

and you can't compare what was tolerted in the 70's and 80's to now. the league and owners have much less tolerance for these type of issues than they used too. goodell has made that very clear.

also, i don't expect these guys to be saints and perfect men. but there is a difference between crimes against yourself (i.e. drugs) and those that impose your will on others (rape, sexual assault, assualt).

i believe the general public doesn't really care if a sports star is doing drugs and gets caught. the public actually feels sorry for him and hopes he makes a turnaround. conversely, the general public is appalled by rape, sexual assault, etc. (as well they should be).

and that is why i think roethlisberger and the steelers are taking so much heat.

Anonymous said...

Ben hasn't been charged with any sexual assault crimes. He's taken most of the heat because he's stupid for putting himself in that situation again.

Btw, James Harrison smacked his girlfriend and was rewarded with a $50 million contract.

So much for no tolerance.

Collin Williams said...

Time For Mike Wallace to Step up. He had a great rookie year.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Ben's second wife pissed on him. So he dropped her and she got hurt. Embarrassing to all, and that's why details aren't coming out.
Mrs. Roethlisberger should've peed on Patrick instead.

Dale Lolley said... is the best place to make customized fantasy cheat sheets.

Anonymous said...

What in the world is going on with the Steelers?

Simple. They're thugs.