"I feel like I let the city of Pittsburgh down - the fans, my coaches, my teammates. It's not a good feeling." The words of Ben Roethlisberger after Superbowl XLV.
"I'd like to begin by expressing gratitude to the thorough investigation process in Georgia. The prosecutor's decision not to bring charges, I know without a doubt, is the right conclusion. I don't intend to discuss any details related to the events of Georgia. I'm happy to put this behind me and move forward. I'm truly sorry for the disappointment and negative attention I brought to my family, my teammates, coaches, the Rooneys and the NFL." The words of Ben Roethlisberger after the court in Georgia decided not to press charges.
After losing a football game, Big Ben apologized immediately. After (allegedly) assaulting a 20-year-old girl, Big Ben thanked the courts for not pressing charges before he apologized. Ben, you certainly "let the city of Pittsburgh down" - but how you played in Superbowl XLV was not a factor in that at all.
Someone brought up Michael Vick, and how I give him a pass but I don't do the same for Roethlisberger. I say - Michael Vick went to prison, served his time, paid his dues and is now trying to be a better person by working with the Humane Society and talking to inner-city kids. Roethlisberger's punishment was a six-game suspension that was reduced to four games. Vick also served a two-game suspension after signing his deal with the Eagles. Oh but Big Ben had to answer questions throughout the season from members of the media about what happened in Georgia. So that must have been really hard on him.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I do not like Roethlisberger. I like the Steelers, with the exception of him. I have a man-crush on Mike Tomlin. I think Troy Polamalu is awesome. Max Starks and Mike Pouncey are Gators. The organization, from the owner to the coaches to (most of) the players, are solid. But Roethlisberger is another matter. He always seemed arrogant. Riding his motorcycle without a helmet. The girl in Lake Tahoe. The girl in Georgia. All of those actions said "I'm better than everyone else," which didn't seem very Steeler-esque.
Maybe he was always this way, but we didn't really know about it because he went to Miami of Ohio. Even his early years with the Steelers, he was kind of in the background, allowing Cowher, Bettis, et al. to serve as the face of the franchise. My guess, however, is that he wasn't always that way, but the early success he and his team had went to his head. He started to think he was invincible, that he deserved to get everything and anything he wanted. He reached the top, then was knocked down because of his own actions. Now he is saying all the right things, but that won't mean much unless he does all the right things.
Big Ben has shown himself to be a giant d-bag. But then I read the words of someone who has been through worse than Roethlisberger:
"I hope to leave a legacy that kid scan look back on and say, 'ok here's a guy who rose to the top, fell dramatically and rose again. And despite everything that he went through he had the ability ot keep pressing forward, stay persistent and make the most out of a bad situation that he created.' The only thing I hope is that people give me the opportunity when they look back and say, 'ok here's a guy who made a mistake and bounced back from it.' I hope they give me the benefit of the doubt at the end of the day because God gave me a second chance, and I think everybody else should."
You know who said that? Michael Vick. And he's right. Everyone deserves a second chance, even giant d-bags like Roethlisberger. So here is your second chance Ben, not just from me but from every NFL fan everywhere. For our sake, for your sake - don't screw it up.