"From the bottom of my heart, I know I haven't been the best person, the best quarterback for the Steelers. I'm not just talking on the field, I'm talking off the field. I try my best and hardest to be a good role model with the kids and do things in the community, but I know I can be even better. That's what I want to do."
Really? Ben can be an even better role model than he's been so far? For the sake of women everywhere, I certainly hope this is true.
"I used the analogy of the Superman, Clark Kent," Roethlisberger said during his interview with KDKA regarding his incredible rookie season of 2004. "All of a sudden this Big Ben was formed as the year was going, it just kept building up. It was something that I didn't know how to deal with it. I had never experienced anything like it before. I'm this Superman on the field and I want to be that guy, but off the field I was still able to be Ben Roethlisberger, the person that my parents raised me to be, the faith, the friends and all that stuff that's still there."
Roethlisberger said after he won the Super Bowl in his second season, the persona of Big Ben just kept taking over his life.
"I think it ended up coming off the field," he told KDKA. "As the years kept going it just kept taking over Ben Roethlisberger. Superman kept taking over Clark Kent and you just never saw who Ben Roethlisberger was anymore. Looking back on it I can see that. At the time I didn't really see it."
I'm not sure how much I want to pursue this, for fear of appearing to let Roethlisberger off the hook, but there's something interesting in here about the nature of celebrity, about how we can delude ourselves by elevating athletes to the status of gods. They are men and women, and often they are not fully mature, and their fame surely prevents some of them from keeping their heads on straight. It's worth thinking about, and Roethlisberger may well be right that the transition from "Ben Roethlisberger" to "Big Ben" the comic-book hero has something to do with the person he's become. Ultimately, though, the responsibility lies with him.