Jets vs. Steelers: Big Ben, Mark Sanchez and the Anatomy of a Hypocrisy

Charles HoweCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2011

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 19:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 19, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Everyone remembers the sexual assault allegations that Ben Roethlisberger faced during this past offseason. When Fred Bright, the District Attorney in Milledgeville, Ga., declined to press charges against Roethlisberger, a firestorm ignited. People across the United States have varying opinions on the matter.

Immediately, fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers' rivals began penning witty little puns about Roethlisberger. Every week, fans of the Steelers' opponent troll the various blogs and message boards that focus on the Steelers with their own version of these clever plays on words.

Unfortunately for Jets' fans, their memories are too short. Mark Sanchez was accused of sexual assault in 2006. Ironically, Sanchez had attended a rape awareness seminar on the USC campus earlier in the day. A 19-year-old Sanchez was arrested and freed on $200,000 bond. The charges were later dropped.

This fact hasn't stopped some Jets' fans from bashing Roethlisberger for his off-field problems. On the comment thread of an article titled "AFC Championship Game 2011: 5 Predictions For Jets vs. Steelers" one such Jets' fan emphatically proclaimed at the end of his post, "Jets win this one easily 28-10... 'Our D will give the Rapist FITZ.' "

Sexual assault is no laughing matter. The people that make these type of comments are not condemning sexual assault. They are making light of a serious situation. The jokes aren't that funny and they're a little demented.

Jets' fans are not the only football fans guilty of making light of sexual assault with these comments. However, they are possibly the most hypocritical fans to do such. In an ironic twist, not only are they making inappropriate jokes, but they are making these jokes while completely oblivious to their own quarterback's off-field problems while attending USC.

Neither Roethlisberger nor Sanchez ever faced trial for their allegations. The American justice system is setup to try to keep innocent people from going to prison. Roethlisberger and Sanchez should be treated as innocent men because there was not enough evidence to take them to trial and they are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

Everyone that has ever played competitive sports knows that trash talking comes with the territory. However, the aforementioned trash talk should be kept classier than to make light of sexual assault. Trash talk should be left to events that happen on the playing field.

It's time that we as American sports fans try to be more mature. Just because we live in a country that allows us to make insensitive and disrespectful comments, doesn't mean we should.