A Vocabulary Test For Big Ben

Matt PicchiettiContributor IApril 22, 2010



Pronunciation: \ˈem-pə-thē\

Function: noun

Etymology: Greek empatheia,  literally, passion, from empathēs  emotional, from em-  +pathos  feelings, emotion 

Definition:  1: The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner;  2: the capacity for this

Antonym: Ben Roethlisberger

Ben ·ja ·min Tod ·d Roe ·thlis ·ber ·g ·er

Pronunciation: \ˈjak-ˌas\

Function: proper noun

Etymology: Ohioan

Definition: 1. American football player, future inmate or St. Louis Ram (Pretty much the same thing). 2. Typical professional athlete that lives down to the stereotype thereof.

Don’t these guys understand empathy? Don’t they remember what it is like to be normal? Don’t any of these professional athletes have daughters? (I’m assuming that all were birthed by mothers, but as of late, I have my doubts).

Ben Roethlisberger may not have a daughter but his boss, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, does. Actually, Goodell has twin daughters, and perhaps he had them in mind as he pondered what to do with Big (and Little) Ben. But before we speculate, let’s be fair:

The Good Ben

-August 4, 2004, Roethlisberger signs a six-year, $22.26 million-dollar contract. It is loaded with an additional $17.73 million worth of incentives. Cha-ching!!

-February 5, 2006, the Steelers win Super Bowl XL 21-10 over the Seattle Seahawks. Cha-ching!!

-March 4, 2008, Roethlisberger signs an eight-year, $102 million contract. Cha-ching!!

-February 1, 2009, the Steelers win Super Bowl XLIII 27-23 over the Arizona Cardinals. Cha-ching!!

The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation raises money to help support police and fire departments. Personally, Big Ben has donated more than $100,000 to fund service dogs to those departments.

In 2005, Roethlisberger donated one game check to aid the tsunami relief fund.

The Bad Ben


-June 12, 2006, Roethlisberger wrecks his motorcycle. He was not wearing a helmet, nor did he have a motorcycle license. He fractured his jaw and a sinus cavity. This is easy enough to chalk up to a kid with too much cash feeling invincible. Because no one else was hurt, this could be seen as a social mulligan. Moving on…

-July 17, 2009, a civil suit was filed in Washoe County, Nevada District Court accusing Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting 31-year-old Andrea McNulty in his hotel room. McNulty did not file a criminal complaint and no physical evidence was collected. McNulty’s suit seeks at least $440,000 in damages from the quarterback and $50,000 from Harrah's. According to McNulty, Roethlisberger struck up a friendly conversation at her desk during the golf tournament.

The next night she said Roethlisberger telephoned her to tell her that the television sound system in his room wasn't working and asked her to look at it. The woman said she determined that the TV was functioning properly, but as she turned to leave he stood in front of the door and blocked her, then grabbed her and started to kiss her. According to the lawsuit, the woman required hospitalization for treatment for depression after the alleged attack. 

What is she doing going to fix a TV? Was that part of her job? Was she a hostess/ custodian? Doubtful. There are additional accounts, some from McNulty’s friends, that support that McNulty was trying to get pregnant. The bottom line is that McNulty’s story stinks, but Ben was is really dumb and proved that he did not understand empathy. (See above definition.) If he did, he may understand what someone who is, allegedly, like McNulty.

-March 5, 2010, 20-year-old student at nearby was seen at several establishments with Roethlisberger leading up to the incident, including posing for a photograph with him. Roethlisberger spoke with police the night of the incident and stated that he did have contact with the woman that was not and afterward the accuser slipped and injured her head.

An emergency-room doctor and two nurses examined the accuser and reported "superficial laceration and bruising" in the genital area. What exactly is a “superficial laceration”? And how would it happen to the genitals? I only ask, because the doctor could not definitively state whether the bruising or bleeding had been the result of a sexual assault. Perhaps she was dancing really hard?

A doctor's report also quoted the alleged victim as having said, "A boy kind of raped me." In interviews with the police on the night of the incident, the victim alleged one of Ben’s bodyguards (who is / was an off-duty cop) led her down a hallway to a stool and left.

Roethlisberger approached and allegedly exposed himself. Little Ben made an appearance despite protests. Ben allegedly followed her into a bathroom when she tried to leave. The door was blocked and something terrible, if not criminal, happened.

A drunk 20-year-old girl in a bar with two cops and pro athlete (all of whom dwarf her, physically) and a 30-square-foot bathroom…hmmm? With a small amount of empathy, it is easy to understand what probably happened in that room. Empathy also allows anyone to understand why the “accuser,” as she has been called in the press, may want to make this whole thing just go away

Legally, Big Ben might be in the clear, but the guy is a scumbag. He is incapable of empathy. He does not know what it is like to bullied and forced into something that he does not want to do. Rodger Goodell understands empathy. Rodger Goodell has daughters. I’d like to think that they were on his mind as he thought about what to do.

Notice that Art Rooney II did not protest the decision? Perhaps his three daughters were on his mind as he said ‘okay’ to Goodell. Perhaps they are still on his mind as he considers getting rid of his star QB.

Here’s a new definition for Big Ben. This one is simple:


Function: noun

1: a heavy metal bar with handles used (as by firefighters) to batter down doors and walls (of blocked bathroom doors, perhaps) 2: Ben Roethlisberger’s next team.


I wonder what former Steeler’s head coach Bill Cowher has to say about Ben’s behavior? Have you noticed that he has been pretty quiet? Never mind. Bill Cowher knows empathy…and he has three daughters. 


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