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Big Ben pays for wrong-headed decisions

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Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock writes about the sports world from every angle, including those other writers can't imagine or muster courage to address. His columns are humorous, thought-provoking, agenda-free, honest and unpredictable. E-mail him, follow his Twitter or become a fan of Jason Whitlock on Facebook.

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Listening to the naive and dishonest media discussion about the latest sexual assault allegation leveled at Ben Roethlisberger, you'd think Usher (and maybe Rick Pitino) was the only other American who wants to make "love in this club."

No wonder NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had such a difficult time ruling on how long to suspend the Pittsburgh quarterback. On Wednesday, Goodell banned Roethlisberger for six games.
Ben Roethlisberger

BIG BEN SAGA

Take a look back at the timeline of Ben Roethlisberger rape allegations that once threatened to derail his career.

It's a fair suspension. Unfortunately, PacBen's transgressions have never been put in proper perspective for the public.

Tiger Woods life coach Herm Edwards declared that Big Ben's "moral compass" is out of whack. Moralizing, shallow newspaper and Internet columnists blasted the 28-year-old Roethlisberger for fishing in a college bar with the oldest lure in the book (alcohol).

And race-baiting simpletons wanted to keep a racial scorecard on how Goodell and the Steelers handled PacBen as opposed to Pacman Jones and kicked-to-the-curb Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes.

A lifetime ban for Big Ben wouldn't have cleaned up the stench of Donte Stallworth's DUI manslaughter, Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennel, Plaxico Burress' gun conviction, Rae Carruth's baby-mama murder, Pacman's strip-club wilding ... should I carry on?

Now that we know the penalty, let's discuss PacBen in something resembling proper context. There is no doubt Roethlisberger is an idiot worthy of suspension. What I've yet to hear or read is a fair justification for why he deserved punishment.

When the Georgia police released the details of the notes it took during its investigation of Roethlisberger, the media cherry-picked and repeated the alleged "eyewitness" accounts as though they were as unimpeachable as a video replay.

According to the "witnesses," Roethlisberger's bodyguards dragged the accuser to the bathroom, blocked the entrance into the bathroom and Roethlisberger approached the accuser with his penis exposed.

Once these accounts were introduced as "evidence" into the court of public opinion, broadcasters and pundits had all the ammo they needed to convict Ben as "disgusting" and call for Goodell to take swift and hard action.

It was completely irresponsible. Statements made by drunken sorority girls are not facts. Statements made by sober sorority girls about an evening spent bar-hopping and drinking are not facts.

Late last week I received an e-mail from a former sorority president and current advisor to a sorority. She warned me that the media were being foolish for believing the allegations of drunken 20-somethings. She explained what she'd witnessed firsthand as a student and what she now deals with as an advisor.

Some young women use alcohol as an excuse to be sexually aggressive at fraternity houses and nightclubs and then quickly concoct a story of sexual assault when confronted by their disapproving peers. Most of these allegations never make it to police headquarters. The allegations are too sketchy and the accuser's immediate jury of peers reject them.

"I don't believe a bunch of hammered sorority girls in this situation," the former sorority president wrote. "I've seen too much bad behavior amongst them. It's all about having fun and then making sure you're not held accountable and your reputation is still good."
 

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Big Ben's accuser was allegedly wearing a name tag that read DTF -- "down to f---." She engaged in a lewd and highly flirtatious conversation with Roethlisberger.

It's 2010 not 1910. Women vote, drive cars and knock boots at their own discretion. The popular R&B singer Usher makes songs targeted at women. His 2008 smash hit "Love in this Club" was most popular with women. Getting busy in the bathroom or getting a special "bottle service" at a VIP table are nowhere near as rare as joining the "mile high club."

If you read the police accounts, the accuser's sorority sisters drove this case. If Ben's bodyguards dragged the accuser to the bathroom, you could make the argument that her sorority sisters dragged her to the police.

Her initial story to the police was weak at best and made absolutely no sense at worst.

The case was so flimsy that Big Ben was never even arrested. Once she sobered up, the accuser didn't even cooperate with the police.

Let me repeat: PacBen is a freaking idiot who deserved to be suspended. Off the field, he thinks with the wrong head. In pursuit of a wham-bam, he's twice -- that we know of -- placed himself in a vulnerable position.

But the ugly truth is Ben isn't all that different from a lot of guys and girls who use alcohol as their aphrodisiac of choice. Any woman who has belonged to a prominent sorority has heard the lecture about safety rules to follow when entering a male fraternity house for a mixer/party.

"Don't drink the punch. It might be laced with a roofie."

"Don't go anywhere in the house alone."

The rules are reminders that no matter how nice the guy might sound there's a damn good chance he's looking for one-night-stand sex or trying to set up a train. Some of the women are looking for the exact same thing.

So why did Ben deserve suspension?

As Terry Bradshaw eloquently and appropriately explained, Ben doesn't know who he is and what position he holds. He's a millionaire franchise quarterback, an ambassador for the Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh.

He's not Usher, a rock-star sex symbol. NFL players, particularly high-profile quarterbacks, don't get to make "love in this club." That kind of behavior is way too high risk for someone under Ben's spotlight.

PacBen is no different from Pacman. They run with dumb posses. I don't know Goodell's reasoning for the length of Ben's suspension. But the commissioner should've hammered Ben for his "security" staff. Allegedly, Ben's bodyguards kept the bathroom safe from intruders while Ben attempted to or did make "love in this club."

Think about it. Ben basically hired men to hand him KY Jelly and condoms and stand guard while he had public sex. His instructions should've been this:

"Guys, if I get liquored up tonight and try to bang one of these girls, tackle me, drag me to the car, take me to my hotel, guard the door and make sure no one gets into the room with me while I'm drunk."

The accuser's sorority sisters were smarter and more mature than Ben's "bodyguards."

That should've served as the basis of Goodell's suspension.

We don't have a clue about whether the alleged bathroom sex between two drunken idiots was consensual. And we have even less knowledge about how Ben's "moral compass" compares to Herm's, Ben's peers, Goodell's or the broadcasters/pundits morally hyperventilating because Ben likes pretty young thangs.

What we know is Ben is clueless about how he should conduct himself given his position of responsibility.

E-mail Jason or follow him on Twitter. Media requests for Mr. Whitlock should be directed to Fox Sports PR.
Tagged: Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger

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