Roethlisberger Protesters Embarrass Steeler Nation

For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Luke 14:11)

You may have heard Ben Roethlisberger made his triumphant return to Heinz Field this past Sunday.  What you may not have heard about was the group outside the stadium protesting his return.   The reason you didn’t hear about this band of tree-hugging imbeciles is because their outrage enticed a grand total of twenty people into action.  The often-mocked PNC Park walkout a few years ago got about 100 people to join.

Yes, more people protested the Pirates stinking for eighteen years than cared about Ben’s off-season shenanigans.  Then again, at least Pirate fans have a legitimate reason to be upset.

I have no problem with standing up for what you believe in but take a gander at those buffoons.  Covering your face with gold bandannas?   Are they protesting sexual assault or robbing a bank?   Granted most of them probably have good reason to conceal their facial features but dressing up like dime store homages to Sub-Zero doesn’t exactly help people take you seriously.   Besides, that picture already pretty much confirms any suspicion that they’re out protesting Ben’s sexual activities because they are incapable of having any themselves.

These “protesters” were kids dressing up early for Halloween, right?  I mean, this had to be a joke because nobody who honestly cared about their cause would make such a mockery of it.

I’m extremely passionate about the Pittsburgh Steelers.  All my life, I’ve been proud to say I’m a Steeler fan.   For those of us born and raised in Pittsburgh, the Black and Gold are more than just a team.  They represent our city and we want them to represent it well.   We don’t embrace jerks, showboaters, or thugs.   We’re the gold standard of the NFL.

So when the Ben story first broke, I was upset.  And I lashed out.  I was far from the only one.   Local television stations ran polls showing over 50% of the viewers wanted Ben cut immediately.  Steelers owner Dan Rooney admitted in a recent ESPN interview that he was “furious” when he first heard the news.   It’s human nature to be angry when somebody or something you put great faith in disappoints you.

It’s been over six months since That Night In Milledgeville.  I’ve had time to calm down and objectively look at the facts.  And the only objective conclusion one can reach is that there is absolutely no concrete proof Ben did anything illegal.  Was his behavior ideal?   It certainly wasn’t.  But I would hardly call an underage girl following a man she didn’t know from bar to bar while drinking herself into a drunken horny stupor beyond reproach.  Blame for irresponsible behavior belongs to EVERYBODY involved in this sordid affair.  And as the Georgia D.A. said when he announced Ben would not face charges, “We prosecute crimes, not morals.”

Too bad Roger Goodell doesn’t follow that same standard when handing out his ridiculous and arbitrary suspensions.  How’s that Brett Favre investigation coming along, Ginger Dictator?

What aggravates me about the Big Ben situation is people want to make it a black and white issue when the world is full of shades of gray.  Everybody wants to paint me in a corner by saying, “He’s a Ben hater.” or “You support a rapist.”  Fans from other cities insult Steeler Nation for cheering Ben, not understanding that forgiveness does not mean condonation.   These goofy protesters hear the accusations and immediately break out their crayons and magic markers to make up their stupid little signs.

Intelligent people listen to all sides of an issue and adjust their opinions accordingly.  The greatest sign of ignorance is refusing to change your beliefs despite clear and compelling evidence to the contrary.

Has Ben made mistakes?   He sure has.   Has he been a jerk towards people?  Yes, he has.  Has his arrogance alienated teammates?   Most definitely.  Even though some Steeler fans refused to believe it, I’ve criticized him for all these things in the past because I tell it like it is.  In recent interviews, Ben himself has owned up to behaving in a less than desirable way and acknowledged he would strive to be a better person in the future.

However, does this make him guilty of the allegations down in Georgia?  No, it does not.  The case was investigated and dropped.  End of story.

I admit, I’m rooting for Ben.  Not Big Ben the Super Bowl winning quarterback.  I’m rooting for Ben Roethlisberger the person.  I have faith that he’ll grow into a positive role model, a good citizen, and a respected member of the community.  Ben was placed on a pedestal by a great many people and the resulting arrogance very nearly cost him everything.  Listening to his recent interviews with Bill Cowher and Merril Hoge, I believe this experience has left Ben a humbled man and through that humility he has found the moral compass he once lacked.  And for that we should offer support, not scorn.

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  • Badmon3333

    Wooooow. I didn’t hear about this anywhere…. not on the local Pgh. news, not on the CBS, NFL Ntwk. or ESPN pre-game shows… NOWHERE. What a bunch of tools.

  • Pete


    I’ve kept quiet about all of this for months b/c I wanted to make sure that I had the facts straight before I took a position. I’ve read all of the published news reports, read and re-read your blog and talked things over w/the other Steeler Nation who lives in my house, my son. Here’s my take:

    Your earlier posts this year often made me cringe. I read your blog faithfully and I find that I’m in agreement w/you almost all the time, but your scathing remarks and name-calling made me question your balance and analysis. Still, I couldn’t help but feel much the same way. I wear our team’s colors w/great pride and I expect the same from the men who are paid to wear those colors. I compare the current Steelers to those from our past, to Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, Bussy, Hines, Harris and Bleier. I’ve read biographies of the team and The Chief. If we don’t have men of that quality and caliber, then we’re not the Steelers. In fact, I’ll go as far to say this: If a professional sports team is simply about winning games and championships; if the only goal is to entertain people w/o also offering an example of honor, integrity, hard work and decency, I have no use for professional sports at all. I’ll pack my jersey, tee shirt, towel and hat in moth balls and never watch another game.

    When Ben stepped out of bounds in his personal life, I could only shake my head in disgust and dismay. Still, I looked at the fact that he’d never been charged, that there were mitigating circumstances and things left unsaid that argued for some leniency. I hoped that Santonio Holmes’ departure would send a message to Ben; the kind of message that says, ‘We need quality people on our team more than Super Bowl MVPs.’ I talked about these issues w/my son, himself a football player w/starry dreams of playing for our team someday, and used the opportunity to teach him my take on things like honor and decency. I also discussed the importance of redemption and change.

    Like you, I’m rooting for Ben–not ‘Big Ben;’ not ‘Pig Ben’–but Ben Rothlisberger. I’m not yet fully convinced that his turn around is real, but I’m hopeful. If there were some way that I could encourage him to man up and live to the standards of class and quality that The Chief and our team have embodied for nearly a century, I would. If his change is real, I’ll be proud to cheer for him, both on and off the field.

    As for the silly bastards in the Halloween costumes, they demonstrate even less maturity than Ben did the last time he was drunk. At least he had the booze to blame for doing something stupid. What’s their excuse?

    • Keiven

      You know the Rooneys were long-time loan sharks, right? And that they only started up the old Pirates in ’33 to help fix bets? Do your own research, man, don’t be a lemming. I’m glad they saw an avenue other than betting to make money through football, though. Thank God for the AFL-NFL merger.

    • chris

      I promised myself I’d stay out of the comments on this post but I had to thank you, Pete, for such a thoughtful and well-stated response. I wish I had a “Featured Comments” section because of all the things said about this topic, I think you’ve offered the most poignant perspective on this issue.

      Best wishes to you and your son. Thanks for reading.

    • Mike

      “I’ll go as far to say this: If a professional sports team is simply about winning games and championships; if the only goal is to entertain people w/o also offering an example of honor, integrity, hard work and decency, I have no use for professional sports at all.”

      Right on the nose, Pete. Does this sound like the Cowboys lately?

  • Chubby Jake

    Finally, some one with some sense. I also don’t believe that over half of Pittsburghers wanted him gone. I think it was a case of “Who screams the Loudest, Gets Heard the Most”. The people who wanted him here-just didn’t scream wnd whine.

  • Cheryl

    I totally agree with you. I wish people would just let it die. Every one makes mistakes and I am sure if you ask ANYBODY if they have ever done anything that they regreted with they were young I am sure they will say “Yes”. Common sense in a 20 something person is not a given .. no matter HOW much money you have , or what your career is. I for one am in agreement that he deserves a second chance to redeem himself and I hope and PRAY that he continues to be the NEW Ben and leaves the OLD one in the past .

  • Mike

    Least objective article I have ever read. Idiotic. You strike me as one of those pathetic Steeler fans who has zero in their life and lives their week as a countdown to a 3 hour football game on Sunday. Pitiful. And I’m a Steeler fan!

    Pick up a hobby. Volunteer. Take a class (may I suggest Journalism 101?). Your blind faith in Roethlisberger is saddening. And worse, you let it reflect in your writing style. 2nd rate article and 2nd rate website all around.

    • Mike

      Reading your response, I can confidently come to the conclusion you are not the Steeler fan you suggest. A true Steeler fan understands what Chris is saying. Besides, why don’t you go find a hobby or something constructive to do? You hypocritically bash Chris for taking the time and passion to write this article suggesting it is a waste, yet you take the time and passion to read it and then comment on it. You sir/ma’am, are a hypocrite, and I find it hard to believe you are a Steelers fan, at least, not a Pittsburgh born fan.

  • Mike

    I completely agree, Chris. It upsets me to see people jump to such conclusions with zero evidence. If he raped someone there would be evidence and the DA said there is nothing to show he raped her. You need a DNA sample equivalent to one billionth the size of a raisin, that is a needle point. If you rape someone, that sample size will be there. These jerks need to go protest in front of every frat house in america for what Ben did that every frat guy does. Solicit relations from a female. You can’t say yes, then wake up the next day and only then say No due to your own shame and embarrassment for your lack of self respect and responsibility. These protesters are ignorant jokes.

    • Sara

      Indeed there are a lot of rapists in frats and universities. These rapes go unprosecuted and often unreported because of people like you.

      • Lin

        Thank you, finally someone gets it.

        Also, the DA did not say there wasn’t any evidence, there wasn’t enough evidence. There is a difference! Also, what people don’t get is that the biggest reason was due to the fact that the victim didn’t want to pursue it. THAT is not proof nothing happened, this IS proof she wasn’t trying to go after his money, like everyone keeps saying. The reason she didn’t want to pursue is because she and her family realized she’d end up being further victimized by the system (the defense).
        I believe he did it. The reactions of the victims are classic cases of how victims of sexual assault (can’t use the r word for some reason). I’ve stated this time and again, it isn’t the action of the perpetrator that tells the truth in these cases, it’s the reactions of the victims that are so telling. Ask any psychologist whom has dealt with these cases, or actually take the time to look it up yourself, or talk to a survivor, and you’ll see that these women are just that, survivors.

  • John

    Chris, great article, 100% with you

  • Keiven

    Poster, you’re a hypocrite in hypocycloids. You were the first to jump on the Ben-bashing bandwagon. I used to occasionally read your site, but have come to realize you have no respectful thoughts or analysis, you only spout what you’ve heard. You, my friend, shame the Steelers. They are consistent and you are not. Make up your mind.

  • scott

    The name-calling in this post completely destroys your credibility. You don’t have to agree with the protesters. But to call them ignorant and stupid and imbeciles just reveals your own immaturity. Seriously, are you 12 years old?

    And how exactly did this group of 20 people “embarrass Steeler Nation?” Talk about hyperbole!

    There’s this thing called freedom of speech, and those folks have every right to exercise it. If you disagree, why not just ignore them?

  • scott

    Haha! And I just noticed the Bible quote at the beginning of this post. That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen!

    Would Jesus call those he disagreed with “imbeciles?”

    • Pete

      Actually, Scott, Jesus didn’t mince words w/those he seriously disagreed with. He referred to them as ‘snakes,’ ‘vipers’ (Matthew 33:23) or ‘hypocrite[s]‘ (Matthew 7:5). He was, and is, far from being politically correct.

  • Todd

    It’s good to see you come full circle, Chris. It helps explain how you’re feelings toward Ben changed over the past several months. I was also really disappointed and embarrassed for the Steelers when the GA incident occurred. Luckily, Ben did seem contrite in his last interview, and I’m always willing to extend forgiveness to someone who can admit when they messed up. I think he could make better decisions in the future if he kept his drinking under a little more control.

    Anyway, I’m hopeful for a great season, especially with the way they’re playing. I never guessed we’d be doing this well if you’d asked me before the season began. Looking forward to Ben shaking off some more rust and the Steelers going on a rampage!

  • ladylinsteelerfan

    I’m sure in life we all have been accused of or have done something in our lives at some point and we are not “perfect”. We are so quick to judge, point fingers, protest, I’m not saying don’t stand up for what you believe in. As far as “Ben”, let it go. He would have to answer to GOD, but we are going on accusations. Leave it alone and let him move forward.

  • Drew

    I actually agree with Mike a little. There is more to life than being an over-the-top/blind Steeler fan, folks. Get out from under your rocks! Born and raised in Pittsburgh, lived there for 25 years, job took me to Boston, but will always be a Steelers fan (Buccos and Pens too, of course).

    Life in Pittsburgh does not begin and end with the Steelers. Geesh. Don’t let one’s allegiance to a team mask the reality. Ben’s a great quarterback, but as a person, he’s, simply put, a jerk. He treats people like garbage (and not just girls! His reputation amongst local bar owners and restaurateurs is already legend). I mean, I know most of you know this in your gut! I know it.

    Just because he can throw a ball incredibily well, doesn’t excuse him, nor should make people forget, that he thinks he lives on his own planet. Would have loved to seen him traded. He’s the epitome of arrogance. Sad that most of you are ignoring this.

    • chris

      Did you even bother reading my post, Drew?

      I wrote that Ben has been a jerk to a great many people. I’ve called him out on it many times. If you search this site for posts titled “Ben is a dick,” you’ll see I am far from a blind Ben-worshiper. I pointed out many times Ben wasn’t a very good person and took flack from commenters who didn’t want to face the reality Ben wasn’t a good guy.

      However, are we to hold a grudge forever? Should we never give anybody a second chance?

      I am well aware of how Ben behaved around town. But I’ve decided it is time to wipe the slate clean. He seems sincere in his desire to change and I’m giving him that chance. If he screws up again, I promise you I (unlike many in the Steeler worshiping media) will not hesitate to call him on it. But he deserves a chance.

  • Lyle

    This is comical. You were dogging him all summer long, even labeling one of your posts “rape victim speaks” (even though there were no charges, no rape, no victim). It was probably pretty easy to hold that opinion in June, but now that you are forced to cheer on the Steelers every Sunday, your options are very limited. What I’m saying is that just a couple months ago, you and those 20 bandana-wearing teens were one in the same. Let’s not simply ignore that.

  • CaptainAge

    Sara – you hit the nail right on the head.

    Chris – Let’s be realistic here. At no point, are you or have you been objective on this topic. Here is an example from your current article: “But I would hardly call an underage girl following a man she didn’t know from bar to bar while drinking herself into a drunken horny stupor beyond reproach” – please, explain to me how that comment is objective?

    Isn’t it equally possible that athletes get preferential treatment and are spoken of as if they do no wrong? I’m sure you’ve had your opinions regarding Roethlisberger – but in the more recent past – you’ve not been sympathetic to the victim – especially going so far as to call her a “skank”.

    Just so I am clear – I do not think Roethlisberger is innocent. I also don’t believe his intent was to rape her, but that doesn’t make it any less of a crime – I’m basing this opinion on the interview I saw on ESPN pregame this past weekend.

    Here is some food for thought for those of you who believe 100% in Roethlisberger’s innocence:

    The number of rapes that are reported according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics ( is roughly 53%. That means that almost 1 and 2 rape victims do not report being raped. To add to that, 71% of sexual assaults are not reported. Why do you suppose that is? Is it that assault victims feel ostracized when they report a rape? To quote Parks and David Walbert (victim’s lawyers) when requesting that the case be dropped: A criminal trial would be “a very intrusive personal experience…given the extraordinary media attention that would be inevitable”.

    Here are some other items that appear to be suspicious regarding that night in Georgia.
    – The crime scene was never sealed off; 12 hours after reporting the rape the janitors swabbed the bathroom with Clorox and Pine-Sol.
    – Roethlisberger was immediately notified of the accusation by the police officer taking the victims statements(Blash).
    – Blash (the sergeant who took the original statement) has since resigned amid an internal investigation into his behavior. Not only that, he told the victim that Roethlisberger has lots of money and could hire good lawyers.

    Based upon the above, I’m sure that the only assumption is that she’s a drunken sorority sister – and not that there was any foul play.

    Now, just so we are clear, no one on this board knows what happened – nor were they there in the bathroom – so running your mouths about how the victim was just out to get our star quarterback should end. And using the “no case + no charges = innocence” equation is a joke. Because let’s do this math shall we: O.J = verdict of not guilty on murder charges – however, I’m very confident everyone would agree that O.J was guilty except maybe Buffalo Bill fans.

    “No charges” means that there was insufficient evidence – not that the crime didn’t happen.

    To end this rant, for those of you 100% confident in Roethlisberger’s innocence, please point out the articles you folks have been reading. And please highlight the details that have drawn you to conclude that Ben is innocent. All the articles I’ve read in no way indicate this. As a side note, I’d be happy to supply my reading material if there is interest.

    One final request, could we please dispense with the demonizing of the victim? Referring to her in any derogatory term is ignorant and perpetuates what is clearly a rampant trend toward sexual assault victims.
    The fact I have to defend the victim in this column from inappropriate name-calling is the very reason why victims drop charges or don’t report them in the first place.

    • Lyle

      That is ridiculous. “No charges” means that in the eyes of the law, no crime happened. What detail have you read that indicates he is guily? Maybe you should apply for a DA job.

      • CaptainAge

        At no point in my rant did I say I read articles saying he WAS guilty – please re-read. I simply stated I believe he is guilty based on what I’ve read. Which is my opinion, and you are entitled to yours.

        Care to clarify what you believe to be “ridiculous” – is it the rape statistics, the sticking up for rape victims, the fact I think O.J is guilty?

        “No charges” simply means there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute the crime with success. It does NOT in any way mean there is NO evidence – or that there is no crime. In fact in this case, no charges stems from the victim not wishing to pursue the matter.

        It is a HUGE leap of faith to then say “No crime happened”.

        Maybe I will apply for a DA job – thanks!

    • Cheryl

      You forgot the MOST important part .. NO DNA evidence on her .

      • CaptainAge

        Oh, my gawd….you’ve stumped me. If only there was something designed to stop the spread of STDs that a man could use…oh wait..there is, it’s called a condom.

        By the way DNA evidence was inconclusive, not that there was “No DNA”.

        Oh, just read what you wrote lbkopinion :)

        • Lyle

          So you “believe” he is guiltly, but not so sure to state that he “was” guilty. Okay, that makes perfect sense. Thanks.

          What is ridiculous is your presentation of crime. You position it as though a crime took place, no bones about it, evidence was lacking, so unfortunately they could not press charges. Perhaps a more appropriate way of looking at it was that there where charges and an investigation, evidence was considered, and at the end, there was not enough information availiable to call it a crime. Sounds a lot like our American legal process. This happened in a bar with a bunch of this young lady’s friends around all night. If the cops couldn’t nail Ben in this scenario with witnesses, interviews, medical evaluations, I will tend to believe he didn’t commit this crime.

          • CaptainAge

            Lyle, let’s break down your “logic” shall we.

            You make some “interesting” comments such as “This happened in a bar with a bunch of this young lady’s friends blah blah…” – If you recall, the incident occurred in a private area of the club (it’s interesting that the video tape was not confiscated by the police), the victim’s friends wanted to go back to where the victim was, and Ben’s “body guards” prevented this. So, with just Ben and the victim present for the assault – how in the world would you expect there to be witnesses – as I doubt Ben would provide evidence against himself? Seriously…

            Here’s another comment “You position it as though a crime took place, no bones about it, evidence was lacking, so unfortunately they could not press charges… Sounds a lot like our American legal process”. If by tainting a crime scene, performing an improper investigation, and an ignorant officer – then yes, you’re legal system is truly working as it should be.

            The whole point I was making above – and for gods sake’s at least read what I am writing and then absorb it before making any additional comments – was that the investigating officer did not do the proper investigation. This is clear by Blash resigning – did you read that part of my original post – or did you read it and choose to ignore that fact? How in the world do you expect a proper investigation to take place when the responding officer taints the crime scene?

            My point, that apparently is not very clear – read and question what was reported. If an officer resigns due to their conduct on a crime scene – there must be something fishy going on. If the crime scene is cleaned up 12 hours after the crime occurs – question why that is happening, and finally if the officer is intimidating the victim during their original statement – question that as well.

            Just because he’s a sports star – doesn’t mean he’s innocent but it also does not mean he is guilty. For instance, I believe Ben did not rape that woman in Nevada – based on the details that were reported. But I do believe he did assault this woman based on the details reported.

          • Lyle

            Okay. Last post I promise. My logic is, and to be very blunt about this, for him to have raped her or assaulted her, she would have marks. On her wrists, or throat, or wherever. Almost certainly down below. She would have torn clothes. The bathroom was the size of a closet (by looking at the pictures). It would have been a very rough situation. How did her pants get off? This can’t be ignored. To commit that kind of crime against someone would leave bodily evidence. There was none, apparently, because that would have sealed it. I’m not saying Ben R. is not an asshole. I’m just saying that based on the above that there is almost no way he raped that lady in the bathroom.

          • Lin

            @ LYLE
            “Okay. Last post I promise. My logic is, and to be very blunt about this, for him to have raped her or assaulted her, she would have marks. On her wrists, or throat, or wherever. Almost certainly down below. ”

            This is exactly where the confusion is, no, just because there aren’t any marks does not prove r*** or sexual assault did not occur. However, regarding ‘down’ below’, there was vaginal tearing. So intercourse did occur. The issue is whether it was consensual or not. She was drunk, she said she didn’t want to do it, she didn’t have the capacity to fight it. This means she may have just gone limp and ‘let it’ happen, out of fear. That’s usually the way it happens. Most females get to the point that they get scared about the fact that the man may start beating the crap out of them, they just freeze or let their bodies go limp, thinking to themselves, ‘just let it happen, so he won’t hurt me, it’ll be over soon.’ It happens, but it doesn’t mean the girl wasn’t forced into sex. The problem is with the way the laws are written. In some states, he would have been arrested, just for the fact that she was drunk and he had sex with her. It wouldn’t have mattered if she said yes or not. It’s because those states know that there are predators out there, that purposely get women drunk so they can have their way with them in that capacity. These states recognize the fact that a woman is not in the correct mindset under the influence of alcohol to decide yes or no to sex. So, yeah, in a few other states, he truly would have been guilty. One of them, at one point, was his home state.

  • keith

    Thank God they all had TVO so they could watch the game after their protest.

  • lbkopinion

    A condom pretty much answers that unsolveable problem.

    Also, Ben doesn’t deny having sex with her – which renders DNA pretty much useless in determining whether or not she consented to the act.

  • Ron

    “These goofy protesters hear the accusations and immediately break out their crayons and magic markers to make up their stupid little signs.

    Intelligent people listen to all sides of an issue and adjust their opinions accordingly. The greatest sign of ignorance is refusing to change your beliefs despite clear and compelling evidence to the contrary.”

    I couldn’t have said that better myself. Thank you.