The Ben Roethlisberger Scandal: Playing Devil's Advocate

Franklin TempletonContributor IJuly 23, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 15:  NFL player Ben Roethlisberger walks onstage to accept the award for Best Game, Steelers vs. Cardinals Super Bowl XLIII on behalf of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2009 ESPY Awards held at Nokia Theatre LA Live on July 15, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The 17th annual ESPYs will air on Sunday, July 19 at 9PM ET on ESPN.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

I've read a few articles about the Ben Roethlisberger scandal. Not because they have particularly insightful takes on the matter, but rather, to read the comments (and there are plenty). You see, after reading a few comments, I became rather disconcerted.

It wasn't that a superstar athlete was being accused of a crime (certainly by now we're all used to that). It wasn't even that the superstar athlete was generally accepted to be a good guy. Finally, it wasn't that it seemed like everyone believed Ben was completely innocent (which he is of course until proven guilty).

What bothers me is the treatment of the accuser: Andrea McNulty.

While so many people are quick to point out that Ben deserves the benefit of the doubt they just as quick to claim that McNulty is a whore, a bimbo, or mentally insane and that all she's doing is chasing after money.

Well here I am, whether you like it or not, self righteous as all hell, riding to the rescue on my glorious white horse.  Here are my responses to some of the crap that's been flung at Ms. McNulty.


1. She waited one year to report it. That means she's obviously lying.

Ladies and gentleman, according to a few different sources (which are accessible via a simple Google search), it's estimated that between 60 and 75 percent of sexual assault cases are never reported. 

That means a person is more likely not to report sexual assault than a person is to report it. 

Even so, it recently come out that she told her bosses about what had happened and they chose to ignore it, giving credence to her claim of a cover up.

For those of you that can't understand why she wouldn't report it, it's obvious it's not always as easy as it sounds. Read what some people are saying about her and ask why she didn't initially report it.

Apparently if you accuse a two-time Super Bowl Champion quarterback of raping you, people whom you've never met will call you a whore, a bimbo, or mentally insane and that all your doing is chasing after money. 


2. She didn't press criminal charges, she's only suing him. Obviously she just wants money.

This one seems to perplex a lot of people, but there are a couple easy explanations for it. The one that makes the most sense to me (as a non lawyer) is the difference in the burden of proof. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the criminal justice system in USA, in criminal trials you have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (meaning roughly 99 percent certainty). 

In civil trials, the burden is only a preponderance of the evidence (50.1 percent or sometimes referred to as 50 percent plus a feather's weight).  Meaning it quite possibly could be a strategic decision.

Some people might say it's wrong to do that, but it's the way our criminal justice system works. Besides, the same thing happened to O.J. Simpson (found not guilty in criminal but found liable in civil court), and I don't think many people would argue with that.

That's one possible reason, but there certainly are others. In a civil trial she might not have to testify, which for some victims would be a daunting experience. Or maybe, Big Ben going to jail wouldn't help her any, but money would. 

Another possibility is that she's a big Steeler's fan, and while she doesn't want their star quarterback to go to jail, maybe she still wants him to be punished for what he did.


3. She's been seeing a therapist, obviously she's insane.

Let's begin by stating that this fact was first broke by which is essentially a tabloid. Let's continue by stating that it's estimated that three percent of Americans are seeing a psychiatrist at any given time.

I haven't found a number on how many have ever seen a psychiatrist, but it's safe to say that quite a few Americans have been to a psychiatrist at some point.

We also shouldn't forget that just because a person sees a shrink, does not make them insane or mentally unstable or any of the ridiculous things people have made it out to be. 

I mean, come on guys, depression plus accusing a quarterback of rape does not equal mentally unstable. By the way, where did you guys get your medical degrees?

This sort of brings me back to the first point I made. Why would she not report it right away?  Perhaps because if you accuse the Great Ben Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting you, the world finds out that someone tricked you into falling in love with someone on the Internet and that you happen to be seeing a shrink.

I'm not trying to tell you that she is telling the truth. I'm just trying to get you to look at it objectively and maybe not take every opportunity to demean and attack this woman (whom, by the way, you've never met).

Now, I understand why you guys do it. You like Ben. I do too; I hope he didn't do anything wrong because he seems to be a great guy. 

I don't know Andrea McNulty. I also don't know Ben Roethlisberger. Neither do any of you. I don't know what happened in the hotel room that night. Neither do any of you.  See, it turns out we have a lot in common. 

The only difference is, when a sports figure I like is accused of something heinous, I don't start calling names like an eight year old on the playground. I'm not asking you not to speculate as to what you think happened, but for God's sake, calling this woman insane, mentally unstable, a whore who only wants money.  Seriously?  Grow up.