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Big Ben Roethisberger under fire

Ben Roethisberger has driven a bumpy road in the NFL over the last few years.  He had an incredible rookie season and became the face of the City of Steel, showing guts and bringing glory to one of the more dedicated sports towns in the United States.  

Then, in the off-season, he crashed his motorcycle and suffered serious injuries, but was able to recover and bring his game back full swing the following season.  

The Bus, Jerome Bettis, received his championship ring with Big Ben at the helm.  Then last year, the Steelers rolled on to the Super Bowl and captured the league’s championship, effectively sealing the legacy of Big Ben in Pittsburg’s sports hero lore books.

But with any person’s tremendous success and stellar character, there always is one incident that will strike out and seem poised to destroy a legacy, or in this case, a dynasty.

A few years ago, another athlete by the name of Kobe Bryant was blasted by the media as an adulterous rapist, seemingly ready to label him guilty even before a trial.  Whether race had anything to do with it remains a mystery, as does the shady response by the prosecution’s office in Colorado that made it look like another similar case involving Duke’s lacrosse team and an accused rape; a political gamble made to try and earn credentials for re-election or give a lackluster resume a bit of padding.

The truth that Bryant’s accuser stated, or the various versions of it, was picked apart by the more reasonable people in our society, and when the real truth of the accuser was made known to the public, the case crumbled.  In the end, it was revealed to be nothing more than a gold-digger’s attempt at earning a big paycheck so she might not have to continue spinning tricks on countless men (since she did sleep with at least one other man that same night she was with Bryant).

The media, for what it’s worth, have learned the folly of placing guilt on those who are in the public eye, especially when the motives for the accusation are once again very questionable.  The case boils down to a he said, she said matter, with the accuser stating that this sexual assault occurred on July 8, 2008, but she waited more than a year to file any such claim against Roethisberger.  

I don’t claim to know every detail of the encounter between the two, but I am not one to take the side of the woman simply because she is a woman and gets favorable treatment by the law in cases where gender plays a roll (and if you don’t agree with that statement, take a look at how often men are denied custody of children in divorce).

The sad reality in sexual assault cases is that the woman’s word matters more than the man’s, and a jury will almost always give the woman’s account of events more credibility.  Our society is based on inequity and that will never change.  Racism and sexism are invasive and influence every aspect of our culture: the judicial system especially.  

While I believe Roethisberger will win out in the end, it will be through the hard work of a brilliant legal team and not because of a jury of supposed peers finds him innocent.