Is Roethlisberger Being Treated Differently?
Ben Roethliberger has been accused of a crime. Not jaywalking or public intoxication. Not even driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. No, Ben Roethlisberger has been accused of rape. Let me spell out what that means, because it is apparent that the gravity of the situation is not sinking in for some people, especially those who I would expect to be reporting it. Ben Roethlisberger is accused of aggressively forcing a woman into a public restroom, having his bodyguards prevent her from leaving, and anyone else from stepping in to prevent him from forcing the young woman into unprotected sex. Rape.
You’ll have to look very hard to find anything about this on CNN. I didn’t even see it mentioned on the New York Times website. Nothing on Fox News either. It was buried most of the way down the page on the HuffingtonPost.com and there was not even a single mention on DrudgeReport.com. It appears that only ESPN thinks this is worth reporting in any significant way and that is mostly in relation to whether he’ll get to play football.
There is none of the sensationalized press interest that has been focused on Tiger Woods, whose mistresses were willing participants, and whose actions did not violate the law. As we all know, Woods has been in the news every single day since the middle of November because of a minor car accident and the sexual affairs subsequently leaked to the press. He and his wife have been followed by photographers/stalkers, he has endured some of the negative (even racist) comments that greeted him when he first began making a name for himself on the golf course, sponsors have dropped him, and it is still not over. Few of his fellow golfers have been willing to say even a single word supporting their strongest competitor and the biggest name in the sport. Tiger Woods held a press conference to publicly apologize for engaging in acts that were private. Acts that were not criminal. Acts that in no way were related to his sport and appear in no way to have any effect on his performance on the golf course. Woods has been publicly humiliated for cheating on his wife. He has gone to rehab to deal with his personal issues. He may not be able to repair his marriage. He has forever scarred his public image and will see lasting effects from this supposed scandal. Whatever his personal faults, Tiger Woods has not been accused of committing any crime whatsoever.
Ben Roethlisberger has been accused, at least three times now, of raping women. No press conference. No apologies. No sensationalized accounts of his exploits. Barely any news mentions about it at all. If you want to know what happened you have to dig for it.
Some argue that the criticism of Tiger Woods has been such because he is a golfer and not a football or basketball player. Golfers are supposedly held to a higher standard. Tiger Woods should have known better. Maybe it would be more fair to compare Roethlisberger to another quarterback. How about Michael Vick? He was not accused of raping women. Michael Vick was accused of having knowledge about dogfights that occurred on his property. Heck, Vick was even accused of being directly involved.
Michael Vick was charged with abusing dogs. Michael Vick was dropped by the Atlanta Falcons. He was disciplined harshly by the NFL. He faces jeers every time he sets foot on the field. He faces the same criticism any time he goes anywhere. He has not been accused of raping anyone.
Michael Vick mistreated dogs. Ben Roethlisberger, by all accounts, has abused human beings, women. I rank women above any dog, any day, for any reason.
Ben Roethlisberger has been repeatedly accused of rape, which I certainly think is a more significant offense, yet has seen little of the attention that Woods or even Vick has received. No, Ben Roethlisberger will not be charged with the rape of a woman in Milledgeville, GA. Sure, it is possible that he may been suspended from a number of games with the Steelers. I wonder what that might be for? He’s not charged with having committed any criminal offense, so if he didn’t do it, why should they suspend him? Right?! My take is that the NFL and the Steelers know that this guy has a serious problem. I think that the Steelers’ organization knows that they need to show that they will not permit this type of behavior from their players even if it is alright with the police department in Milledgeville, Georgia and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. If the Steelers do take harsh action against Roethlisberger I will applaud them but I cannot help but think that this guy has gotten one hell of a pass on this one.
Tiger acted like a college student on spring break. No criminal activity has been alleged at all. Yet, he has faced a nearly unprecedented amount of media coverage for having consensual sex. He made a very public apology. Michael Vick mistreated dogs. He was accused, charged, convicted, sentenced, and served prison time for dogfighting. He made a very public apology. Ben acted like a man who knows he can commit criminal acts without consequence. He has not received much media attention. He has not be charged with anything. He has not apologized. There have been no consequences as of yet.
Why the marked difference?