Granted, I've always been a fan of The Motorcycle Rider as a quarterback, but it’s impossible for me to look at the man in the same light, after he’s been accused not once, but twice, of sexual assault in the past 12 months. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s twice in one year. Anyway, the point of this post is to look at exactly why the man and his team, in my opinion, got off easy.
No Charges were Filed: this is the easiest one to decipher. If The Court of Public Opinion ruled the land, there’s no telling what Roethlisberger would be charged with, but the bottom line is the man was never charged with a crime.
He Plays for a World-Class Organization: I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that if you play for the Steelers, Cowboys, or the Patriots, you can get away with things that players on a majority of other teams simply cannot afford to. Name recognition, team success, championship lore, visible ownership, and a loyal fan base can all be tied into the fact that Ben Roethlisberger is in an ideal situation. The Pittsburgh Steelers are arguably the most respected organization in all of football. They’ve also won the most Super Bowls, and the Rooney family has been a fixture of the team since its genesis. Sure, Steelers Legend, The Great Terry Bradshaw, had the guts to say the man should have to serve the entire six-game suspension, but when the Rooney family didn’t echo similar sentiments, it made Goodell’s decision much easier.
The Lack of a Widespread and Visible Outcry from Women: For every woman I know who can’t stand Big Ben, there are two that were able to "look the other way" at what he did. There are more who know what the man did was wrong, but it won’t affect them cheering for the Steelers, and honestly, that’s their prerogative. Still, at least when it has been with other crimes, folks rallied behind a similar cause, a la, people calling for Michael Vick’s head when he was fighting dogs, or people rallying behind victims of drunk driving, when Donte’ Stallworth had his incident a while back. Why should Goodell rock the boat, if one of the biggest demographics for the league, which happen to be women, isn’t pressuring him to?
Women make up 46% of NFL merchandise sales and one-third of their television viewing audience, yet they didn't use their influence to rage against the machine against Roethlisberger for his foolishness. The main victims of his dastardly deeds are women, but there were no wide-spread demonstrations, and nothing that would indicate that Roethlisberger had anything to worry about from the demographic that has been affected the most. Once again, it made Goodell’s decision to reduce his suspension that much easier to make. I’m convinced that had women come together and let Goodell know that they were uncomfortable and intolerant of what Roethlisberger did, there would have been more incentive to uphold his initial ruling.
The Race Card: This is more due to the coverage, or lack thereof, of what the man has done. It blows my mind that accusations of this magnitude are swept under the rug by national media. Sure, the man was never charged, but it’s never stopped the media before from going after an athlete before they were charged with anything. Hell, the lack of coverage with this entire thing can lead someone to believe the whole ordeal is a figment of one’s imagination.
In my opinion, Goodell should have kept the suspension at six games. Had The Commissioner initially had it at two games, I still would have rather him kept it at his original ruling. Yes, strides have been made by The Motorcycle Rider to change his ways, but it’s obvious the team, themselves, do not hold Roethlisberger in the same light as they have in the past, as evident by him not being a team captain this season. Some people think it’s a non-issue, but when your own teammates do not vote for you to be a captain, a man who is a top-five quarterback in the league, and someone who has TWO Super Bowl rings in his six-year career, that’s more than telling to me. The man got off easy, his team got off easy, and even Goodell got off easy, but looking at it in this light, its obvious this was how it was destined to go.
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