Is Big Ben Taking Too Much Heat?

Mike MillerCorrespondent IApril 19, 2010

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 27:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on December 27, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)
Karl Walter/Getty Images

I think I may know what the initial response to the above headline might be from many people... "Hell no!". 

This article is not defending Ben Roethlisberger.  Let me make that clear right from the get go.  Nor is this article meant to declare him a devil, a saint, or anything else in between.  I do want to establish, however, that some people in the media really are coming down way too hard on Ben.

Isn't there a point where you have to take some responsibility for yourself?  I mean, let's say you're a single female at a bar, you're under the leagal drinking age, and hanging out with friends.  So what's the responsible thing to do?  Is it to get completely drunk and go into bathrooms with men that you don't know?  Do you see what I'm getting at?  Why isn't the girl taking any of the heat from these radio personel that are calling Ben everything from scumbag to Satan himself?  I've heard him called a sewer rat... scumbag...  and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few. 

But honestly, what did Ben really do here aside from making a huge error in judgement?  He has not been convicted of a crime, and nobody has any reason to believe that he committed one.  So tell me:  why the sewer rat and scumbag comments?  Because he was in a bathroom stall with a single female?  What guy hasn't done that?  I haven't, but I can mention many other strange places... oops.  Nevermind.

The mistake that Ben made that night was hooking up with the wrong girl.  That's it.  Many other women would have simply NOT made an issue of what happened.  Let's get one thing straight.  This, whatever THIS is, was consensual.  She willingly walked into the bathroom with him.  He didn't drag her into the bathroom screaming.  So here we have a man and a woman, both drunk (from what I hear), in a bathroom of some bar.  Gee... I wonder what's going to happen.  Gee... I wonder if she's been going to church every Sunday and Wednesday night.  Sewer rat?  Really?  How about this... he's a famous, really, really rich dude having some fun on a Tuesday night on his birthday.  With a hot drunk chic.  So what's the problem?

I know what you're saying.  You just can't do this stuff when you're a famous athlete.  I know.  But what if he had taken her home?  Is he still a sewer rat?  What if he has sex with her in the limo and then "doesn't say anything".  Is he still a sewer rat?  Is he still a scumbag? 

One more thing.  I've heard him take some criticism for being with a 20-yr old in a college bar.  This is absurd my friends.  Should he have checked her ID?  He's only 28 himself.  Do you think he's the first 28 year old guy that has taken part in sexual relations with a 20 year old female?  I'm going to guess it's probably happened billions of times by now since the beginning of time.  Probably tens of trillions.  It's not like she's 14 folks.  Don't be ridiculous.

That said, Ben has got to start making smarter decisions.  He simply cannot have this happen again.  He cannot be hanging out in the VIP room with immature women getting them drunk.  It's just not smart.  He has to repair his image over time because we, as Americans, in general, are pretty uptight about this stuff.  This case clearly exemplifies that.  As I said before.  I'm not defending what he did.  But let's not get the noose ready people.  He made a stupid decision and it's going to cost him.  He emabarrassed himself, the Steelers, and his family to a huge degree.  He has to carry himself with more class than that, which is none.  But we all make mistakes. 

So let's refrain from calling him a sewer rat and Satan and the likes.  It's just not justified.  It is justified to demand more from our quarterback, and I do.  But we need to support him come September because he is the heart of our team.  And a great, great quarterback.  Surely, if he slips again... well... I won't be writing any articles.  I'll be throwing away my number 7 jersey.  But not yet.  It's way too early for that, and making a fool of himself isn't enough to get me to do that.