No, no, no,, I say. But Buzz Bissinger has written the best article I’ve yet seen about what Ben Roethlisberger’s performance in the Super Bowl has to do with his alleged off-field transgressions. (Although the New York Times’ take is good too.) You probably won’t like it if you’re a Steelers fan (as I am), because it’s really vicious, and yes, Buzz Bissinger is the loser who most recently made headlines for ranting ludicrously about blogs, but I’d much rather read something like Bissinger’s article than something like this or this.
I was just talking to fellow SB Nation Pittsburgh writers Pete and Sam Wilmoth about this, and they pointed out that Steelers fans have had a whole season to focus on Ben Roethlisberger the player, allowing us to forget about Ben Roethlisberger the person. And if the Steelers end up winning the game (as I hope they will), it’s going to feel really strange that an alleged rapist just won the Super Bowl.
You as a Steelers fan may find all this to be old news, but you’re going to hear a lot about it over the next couple of weeks. And you’re going to hear some very strange stuff about Roethlisberger being redeemed, when it’s clear that, whether or not Roethlisberger is guilty, winning a football game is completely irrelevant to what he was accused of doing.
Anyway, here’s Bissinger:
It is all about winning. And the most disturbing part of the saga is that even an organization as storied and classy as the Pittsburgh Steelers succumbed to it. You will not find better owners in all of sports than the Rooney family. Their loyalty to the city of Pittsburgh is unparalleled, and the Steelers, like the Rooneys themselves, embody toughness, strength, and decency. When the latest Roethlisberger incident surfaced, there were reports that the Steelers immediately put out feelers to trade him. But it never happened, no doubt because whatever Roethlisberger isn’t, he is a remarkable winner.
There is something deeply strange about a culture that decides that a four-game suspension is adequate punishment for what Roethlisberger allegedly did. I find it really uncomfortable to root for him now, because if he did rape someone, then Bissinger is right – he doesn’t belong on a football field anymore. He belongs in jail. I’m still rooting for the Steelers, but it’s a really strange situation.