Roethlisberger Has Work to Do

Ben Roethlisberger “Excited” and “Happy” About Being Cleared of Rape Charges

by Adam Perry 4/12/10

“I’m truly sorry for the disappointment and negative attention I brought to my family, my teammates, coaches, [the Steelers’ owners] and the NFL,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (twice accused of sexual assault in the past year) said today, adding that he has “much work to do” to earn their trust.

Well, unlike Roethlisberger, I don’t think that praising investigators for clearing him of sexual assault charges equals “happiness” about “putting this situation behind us and moving forward.” And that’s because I have not heard Roethlisberger say exactly what he’s sorry for, exactly what he thinks he did that caused our disappointment in him, and exactly what he intends to do to not only earn trust but to make peace with womankind.

As someone who became a father just a few months ago, the timing of Ben Roethlisberger’s disgusting recent behavior could not have been worse. It’s been tough wondering whether I’ll be able to cheer on the Steelers with my daughter someday while their quarterback is a man my age who has abused women (whether or not Roethlisberger raped these two women, it’s obvious that he took advantage of them, which is abuse). Everyone I’ve talked to agrees that Roethlisberger has a lot to prove to his teammates, his family, the Steelers’ ownership, and his fans before we can consider him someone to cheer for again, but something that has not been mentioned – and particularly was not mentioned in Roethlisberger’s locker-room speech today, which sounded like an 8th grade boy apologizing for something and then needing to be asked exactly what he was apologizing for – is how he can earn back that support and good will.

Sure, Roethlisberger might be suspended and he might be fined, but if he really does refuse to talk about what happened in Georgia we can’t know specifically what he thinks he did wrong, and he won’t be unlike Mark McGwire, who told Congress that if he talked to kids about steroids he’d say it wasn’t right to take them, but would refuse to admit he’d taken them himself.

Roethlisberger is lucky he wasn’t cut or traded today like his teammate Santonio Holmes (who may have received different treatment because he’s black) was today. But what’s come up most in my new family recently about the Roethlisberger situation is how important it is (more than a suspension or a fine) that part of Roethlisberger’s punishment be mandatory work with a charity for abused women and/or at an abused women’s shelter. Does anyone out there not think mandatory work of some kind with women absolutely must be part of Roethlisberger’s punishment?

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