Ben Roethlisberger has a lot going on these days. While most of his football peers are settling up with teams and contracts or getting their minds and bodies ready for the coming season, Big Ben is trying to get his story straight.
For the second time in the past 18 months, Roethlisberger has to respond to claims that he sexually assaulted a woman.
In the first case, no criminal charges were filed because of the actions, or lack thereof, of the alleged victim.
In this current case, the alleged victim called police immediately after the incident and apparently used a rape kit.
Roethlisberger's first response, through his attorney, was that he, "never had sexual relations with that woman." Sound familiar?
Then this week, as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation along with the local Milledgeville police dug deeper, his story changed—a little.
What he said was that he had "contact" with the 20-year-old college student, but said a sexual act was not consummated inside the dance club. Roethlisberger said the woman injured her head after she slipped in the bathroom.
I'm a Steelers' fan and I sincerely hope that this case is not what it seems, but as more information comes out, I'm starting to see a case of the "duck" coming on. (looks like a duck, walks like a duck, etc.)
Big Ben's biggest problem will be perception. One claim in which the woman is not quite lucid may be easy to make go away, but the fact that this is yet another claim of sexual assault is one too many.
I'm concerned with her slip in the bathroom that caused her to injure her head and the fact that he is now making a distinction between the kind of contact he had with the alleged victim. Whenever semantics start to come into play, nothing good is on the horizon.
I'm still going to try to hold out judgment until all the facts come in, but one thing is very clear to me. Big Ben doesn't seem to do well in the offseason when parties and women abound. He needs to hire a chaperon or what I'd like to call a "Just Say No" guy—a sort-of social designated driver. I think all professional athletes need one.
The next coming days and weeks will be critical for Roethlisberger, not only for his career, but for his life.
The real question is, what will the Steelers do?