Callum Borchers' Blog

Sociologically significant sports (and class assignments)

Roethlisberger’ return elicits extreme reactions

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This whole Ben Roethlisberger saga is as confounding and frustrating as the fact that the low-life quarterback walked right back into the Pittsburgh Steelers’ huddle yesterday and tossed three touchdown passes in a 28-10 victory, piling up 257 passing yards and a 112.7 rating, after being suspended for the season’s first four games.

Just doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Ben Roethlisberger's behavior has generated fan reactions ranging from naive forgiveness to vitriolic condemnation. (Photo by Wikimedia Commons)

Roethlisberger was accused–for the second time in nine months–of sexual assault March 5, after he allegedly forced himself on a 20-year-old female college student in the bathroom of a Milledgeville, Ga. nightclub. Although Ocmulgee Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright decided not to charge Roethlisberger, saying he did not have enough evidence to make a viable case against the two-time Super Bowl winner, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a suspension under the league’s personal conduct policy.

From the night of the alleged assault to the day of Roethlisberger’s return, public opinion of the star has resided largely on the fringes. Some, like the fans who cheered Big Ben upon his introduction yesterday, seem all-too-willing to forget his indiscretions, as long as he gives the Black and Gold a legitimate shot at another Lombardi Trophy. Others, like the protesters who demonstrated outside Heinz Field, openly label Roethlisberger a rapist, despite the lack of a formal charge–let alone a conviction.

Of course, it can be difficult for observers to formulate informed opinions when the interviewer assigned by CBS, which carried yesterday’s Steelers-Browns game, to conduct a sit-down with Roethlisberger is Bill Cowher, the QB’s former coach.

Still, I wish there were more moderation among fans, in this and other cases. Roethlisberger is no hero but, for now anyway, he is no criminal either. What he is, is a narcissist with a skewed sense of self-entitlement, a football player and nothing more.

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Written by callumborchers

October 18, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Posted in Sports

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