On Tuesday night, February 2nd, Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, went drinking with a few of his teammates. As a tradition on the Tuesday before each Super Bowl, Ben takes his offensive line out on the town as a celebration of a great year. They stayed out until 1:00 a.m. at a piano bar and Big Ben picked up the $800 tab plus he gave the waiter of a couple hundred bucks. That big tip is really classy, Ben. For any other guy in the league, this would just be a routine night during a long season. If Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, who the Steelers will face on Sunday did the exact same thing, he would be heralded as a genuinely good guy and a great teammate. For Ben Roethlisberger, this is pure idiocy. 4 days before the Super Bowl, he was out drinking with the guys. Many of the prominent sports media guys underplayed the importance of this situation, saying that football players being out drinking 4 days before the big game will have no affect on how the game is played. Sports writer’s stance is that this is an average story at best. They are wrong. Physically, there are no repercussions for a night out drinking that occurs well before the Super Bowl. But Big Ben is not just another football player. Roethlisberger made countless terrible decisions that have put his professional career, his personal freedom, and even his life in jeopardy.
Taking his team drinking was misguided at best and possibly even reckless regardless of the Super Bowl tradition. Ben Roethlisberger has forced himself into spotlight again and given the the media adequate reason to doubt his focus right before the big game. This is the same Ben Roethlisberger that has been accused of sexual assault twice in the last year. The last time that he went out drinking, he allegedly forced himself on to a college-age girl in a restroom that was guarded by his bodyguards. This is the same Ben Roethlisberger that almost ended his professional career and his life in a motorcycle accident where he fractured his skull shortly after winning his first Super Bowl. This is the same Ben Roethlisberger that said recently that he turned his life around and was doing the right thing. He and his teammates left the bar without being accused of rape, so this at least some small improvement. Big Ben has opened himself up to ridicule and speculation by going out partying at such an important time.
Ben Roethlisberger is either a hypocritical liar or a complete moron, and the sports media that feign indifference are hypocrites too. They lambasted wide receiver Santonio Holmes for his indiscretions with the law that coincided with some of Ben’s incidents. Consequently, he was shipped to the New York Jets and Ben remained a Steeler. They eviscerated cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones when he went out drinking before a scheduled talk with the commissioner of the National Football League about his reinstatement into the NFL. Just because Roethlisberger is the quarterback of one of the league’s biggest franchises, should he get a free pass? No. He has put himself into a precarious situation and a fully avoidable one. If he loses on Superbowl Sunday, he will be roasted for his lack of judgment on this past Tuesday. If he wins, maybe all this would be forgotten. Ben Roethlisberger almost always makes the perfect play on the football field, but he needs to make better decisions off of the football field. And if he does not make better decisions soon, he may lose the big game and lose all his credibility as the leader of the Pittsburgh Steelers.