by Aubrey Bruce
For New Pittsburgh Courier
“Big” Ben Roethlisberger is traveling on a life road filled with some serious potholes and untimely speed bumps. The speedway leading to Latrobe, Pa. seems to be getting more treacherous by the moment. Unless you are living in parts unknown like Mesopotamia or Redjacket, WV, you should be aware of his current dilemma. Mr Roethlisberger is again being accused of sexual misconduct. Whether he is guilty or innocent or whether he wins or loses, the court battles before him are not the only conflict he is facing. After all the legal questions have been settled and the smoke has cleared from the courtrooms, there is a distinct possibility that his clean-cut image may be irreparably damaged. How many pink No. 7 Steelers shirts will we see the Steelers Nation female fan base sporting over at Heinz Field and venues beyond in light of these latest allegations?
People on the street have been asking some profound questions. Is he a sexual predator who is able to run amuck because of his money, celebrity and position? Also, would the alleged victim, along with her motives for pursuing justice and her past behavior, be as closely scrutinized if the perpetrator were not in the public eye?
There was an article a while back during the Kobe Bryant sexual assault trial by Tom Weir and Erik Brady of USA Today titled “In sexual assault cases, athletes usually walk.”
Weir and Brady looked at 168 allegations, involving 164 athletes. Only 22 saw their cases go to trial, and only six cases resulted in convictions. In another 46 cases, a plea agreement was reached. Combined with the six athletes convicted at trial and one who pleaded guilty as charged, that gives the athletes a 32 percent total conviction rate in the resolved cases. That means more than two-thirds were never charged, saw the charges dropped or were acquitted.
Ask yourself this question. If prosecutors who dealt with protecting the general public had such paltry conviction records would there be a public outcry for their dismissal as ineffective and incompetent officers of the court?
It is no small wonder that a few of the common folk are livid when they ask if a man of lesser means and without the resources of a wealthy young athlete, were facing the same demons, would he almost surely be tried, convicted and sentenced to an underground cell instead of strolling out into the sunlight scott free, continuing on as if nothing happened, throwing slant patterns on first and 10, with thousands of adoring fans cheering him on?
Now in Roethlisberger’s defense, I am of the opinion that there are a few predatory women, armed with and wearing DNA- collecting blue dresses waiting to hit the “lottery” at the expense of a Ben Roethlisberger or someone like him. A few of these women have been taught from birth that “diamonds last forever but fat bank accounts last forever and a day.” But fellows, there aren’t any halos encircling your heads either. There is an old saying, (about five minutes old) that I would like to share with you. The more you keep the Vienna sausage in the can, the more money will stay in the bank account!
An unhealthy percentage of women and men are whispering relationship killing sayings like “You gotta pay to play.” “There is a cost to being the boss.” “I don’t need romance, I need finance.” You should all have gotten my drift by now. If you do not believe me, ask Bill Clinton.
The scenario that may hurt Roethlisberger as far as to how the public perceives and reacts to this new set of allegations is that he is arrogant and insolent enough to possibly repeat his bad behavior because of his economic stature. Once again, he is allegedly charged with lewd and unacceptable sexual behavior. He is one of the most affluent athletes in the world. Aren’t there better places to be intimate with a member of the opposite sex than allegedly in a bathroom stall? He must understand, no correction, should understand that the pre-Susan B. Anthony, Fred Flintstone, hit ’em over the head, keep ’em barefoot and pregnant mindset, was a bit out of fashion just after “zoot suits” became the rage. Big Ben appeared in a video with the Poverty Neck Hillbillies, he cannot afford to act like one.
Big Ben is innocent until proven guilty; but how often can you continue to be found innocent of bank robbery by falling asleep in getaway car, after getaway car and expect the judge to believe that you were totally oblivious to the fact that a crime was in progress? Ben should maybe consider a bit of advice from yours truly, the “ex-Paul Bunyan of love.” Save some of that “firewood” to toss into the home fireplace as opposed to going out starting forest fires.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-378-9834.)