Six weeks ago, the NFL came down hard on Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ star quarterback, for violating the league’s personal conduct rules in connection to allegations of sexual assault. The police never filed charges against Roethlisberger, but it was the second time he had been accused of sexual assault (there were no charges in the first incident), and at the least acted, er, stupidly in his public interactions. Roger Goodell warned Roethlisberger at the time that if he failed to cooperate in his six-game suspension and requirement to undergo behavioral counseling, the six-game suspension could turn into something longer, or perhaps permanent. Big Ben seems to have absorbed the message, as MS-NBC reports:
I’m a Steelers fan and enjoy Roethlisberger’s play, but he’s skating on very thin ice — even in Pennsylvania. Three weeks ago, Public Policy Polling showed only 48% of Keystone State voters wanted Roethlisberger in the Steeler backfield this year. They’re not happy about Big Ben getting a third chance to clean up his act. He has a lot of damage to undo, mainly to his image in and out of the league, and that could take a long while, certainly longer than his suspension.
Contrast this saga to the incredible sportsmanship on display by Galarraga and Joyce in the blown-call imperfecto this week. Sports has the ability to uplift, and also to put into stark relief our human failings. It can also showcase redemption, but in Roethlisberger’s case, he’s facing a third and long. He’d better not expect the Steelers to go for it on a fourth.