'The standard is the standard.' And that standard is apparently a minimum of one misdemeanor per player. Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

'Steeler Way' Becoming A Myth With Ta'amu?

Ask anyone in Steeler Nation what makes this organization so great and one of the consistent answers will be ‘a classy organization that takes pride in professionalism and honor’ – The Steeler Way.  Yet this mantra can’t help but be shaken to the core after the organization reinstated rookie Alameda Ta’amu following a two game suspension because he decided recreating Smoky and The Bandit while drunk was a good idea on the South Side.

Prior to October 14th’s romp and subsequent arrest, Ta’amu’s wrap sheet was small but similar.  The South Side incident was not Ta’amu’s first run in with the law.  During 2009, Ta’amu was arrested for DUI while attending The University of Washington.  He pleaded guilty then and we can only presume he received a mere slap on the wrist.  The 2012 draft is finding itself full of players with a ‘past.’  Quick, someone ask DeCastro if he was arrested for kicking a cat, so it doesn’t become a surprise to us all later on.

So, a couple of players from this recent draft class have sordid pasts.  I’m a believer of second chances, and I can accept the Steelers selecting players that have slightly questionable character.  But, simply acknowledging the previous behavioral problem does not absolve them from the inherent risks involved bringing someone like that into the organization.  The risk, however, shouldn’t be a compromise of your own organization’s philosophy and mantra.  Rather, the risk should be about the player and whether he can rise above his past and have a positive impact on the team.

Ta’amu chose to squander his second chance and decided to drink… and drink….. drink some more, then drive.  He committed a felony. A felony.  Not a petty crime like eating a box of ice cream bars in the grocery store then forgetting to pay for them.  We are talking serious stuff like almost killing someone with a car, resisting arrest from police, and aggravated assault.  More serious than liking weed.  And almost as grave as sexual assault. (You know, things that will also put your reputation at risk.)

The Steelers suspended him two games.  Just two.  This doesn’t take into account the action the NFL will probably place on Ta’amu for violating the professional conduct policy nor does it take into account what the city of Pittsburgh – aka THE LAW – will enact as a punishment.  Ta’amu is very much in danger of facing jail time for his actions.  The pro active judgement laid down on Ta’amu by the Steelers will not deflect future punishments.

In fact, the punishment seems disingenuous as well as just overall confusing after the Steelers quietly reinstated him on Tuesday.  They’ve now put their own reputation at risk.  The Steeler Way is quickly mutating into damage control from a once prideful way of running an organization.  And what’s the payoff?  It’s not like Ta’amu was busting down the doors of Canton in his rookie season.  He hasn’t even suited up on game day for the Steelers in the five weeks prior to the South Side arrest.  Ta’amu hasn’t proven his worth on the field, so why are the Steelers keeping him on this roster (or at the very least suspend him for the rest of the season) when more than likely he’s compromised his relationship with the city of Pittsburgh as well as Steeler Nation.  I mean for God’s sake – where are we?  Cincinnati and the Bengals?  Cripes.

The Steeler Way.  It used to invoke images and feelings of a franchise that is the envy of the NFL and most other sports organizations.  This hypocritical shift, however, is instead beginning to invoke feelings of confusion and images of thugs.  I’m shocked that the Steelers would even consider keeping someone like Ta’amu on the roster.

Maybe The Steeler Way is now rehabilitation and Mike Tomlin is the new Betty Ford.


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Tags: Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Steeler560

    Spare me…where were you when Ernie Holmes shot at a police helicopter? Perhaps the Steelers know more about the kid than you do. From all accounts he’s a soft spoken kid from a good family but has been struggling with being away from his family for the first time in his life.

    • Just Me

      I agree. The first thing I thought of when I read this was Ernie Holmes. This is a kid right out of college who made a mistake…not a violent criminal. He needs to learn to moderate his alcohol intake, but that is easily fixable.

  • RWR

    You are way over board on this one. Once the kid pays for his crime, the Steelers will re-evalutate his worth to the team. Kicking the kid to the curb is not what the steelers are about. Taking care of their men when they are down is. Help the kid, let the legal stuff play out and than make an informed decision on his worth ot the team.

  • Yuckmouff

    Way to step up Pittsburgh. This dude must store his heart in the freezer, and wanna be a ligit commentator. Wake up at Alameda and quit robbing yourself of your own future, fool!

  • Kimmy

    I doubt Ta’amu ever plays a down for the Steelers. He hasn’t impressed anyone before this problem to be activated for one game so far and for the record, this is his 2nd incident of a DUI so not necessarily a good kid with no issues. From the police reports, the cops would have considered opening fire on him by his actions if it wasn’t for bystanders. I assure you they haven’t made their final decision him yet and I doubt he’ll ever play a game for the Steelers.

  • SteelerDave

    Oh Brother. Just let this play out will you!

    • Craig

      I don’t understand what needs to play out? The dude commits a few felonies and the team decides to reinstate him. That’s what is being put into question – their judgement on players when ‘character’ has always been at the forefront of this organization. It’s been a slippery slope for a few years now, and this just does a bit more damage to that image IMO.