I am a proud fan of the purple and black. Which means, of course, that I can’t stand the Pittsburgh Steelers or Big Ben. So, as you might imagine, Wednesday’s six-game suspension of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was not unwelcome.
That said, I can’t say it makes me happy – there are too many little boys out there wearing #7 jerseys whose hero, at best, can’t get his act together, and at worst, well, we won’t go there.
In this layperson’s opinion (for whatever that’s worth), the suspension was warranted – and I’m not just saying that because the Ravens are slated to play the Steelers in Pittsburgh during the suspension. But it has left me with a lot to think about.
I actually used to have a soft spot for Big Ben – he and my husband share the same alma mater. Which is not much of an NFL-player factory. So, at the beginning of his career in particular, he seemed like an underdog of sorts to me. I kind of felt like I ought to root for him, at least just a little bit. Hines Ward – he’s easy to root against. Big Ben (until this whole mess started), not as much.
That, of course, has all changed now. He’s not a good guy anymore. And that “charge” will stick – no matter how any of these accusations, charges, whatever they are, end up playing out.
What the heck does this have anything to do with the practice of law, you might ask. Perhaps not much at all. Roethlisberger was suspended because he violated the NFL personal conduct policy. The NFL is, of course, a business, which has rules governing the behavior of its most precious commodities, and he broke those rules. Big time.
It’s the NFL’s right to suspend him. They are protecting their bottom line, and in the process at least trying to protect the hero-worship of “bad boys men boys” by little 5-year-olds (I have one of those, if you didn’t guess. Of course, he worships a guy who probably spends his Saturday nights at home with his mother in New Jersey – and I’m more than OK with that).
But perhaps it does have something to do with the practice of law. Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t had charges brought against him. He wasn’t arrested. There may be reams of evidence pointing to criminal behavior (likely, I imagine), but nothing that law enforcement has deemed to rise to the level of warranting actual legal action.
So what happens when the next set of allegations are made? Any way that Big Ben gets a fair trial – or, for that matter, that the charges aren’t brought the next time? Hard to imagine, since the NFL has already convicted him. Not to mention the public.
I’m not saying the NFL was wrong – I don’t think they were. They have player conduct rules (as they should) and Ben Roethlisberger clearly broke those rules. Nor am I saying that Big Ben was in any way, shape or form right in what he probably did. Quite the opposite.
But we should recognize, for good or for bad, that there are implications to the suspension that go well beyond whether or not the Ravens have to face Big Ben on Oct. 1.