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Not quite Larry, Curly, and Moe ...

By Lou Bouris, SteelCity Mafia
April 18, 2010
Not quite Larry, Curly, and Moe…but close. 
It’s been quite an offseason yet again for our beloved Steelers.  There has been a lot of ‘Breaking News’ alerts on ESPN recently, and most of them not of the good variety.  Anytime a Sportscenter anchor has to bring in a legal analyst to discuss your team, it’s gotta be bad news.  Heck, it’s gotten so bad lately that I can’t even make fun of the Bengals anymore! That’s just not right.  The Rooneys have to be going crazy with the off-field antics of Roethlisberger, Reed, and Holmes.  For what it’s worth, here’s my take on Pittsburgh’s version of the Three Stooges.
Jeff Reed – Recently all charges against him were dropped in regards to his drunken fight with a bathroom towel dispenser. (Good news – I hear he at least won the fight.)  You didn’t hear much about this much in the national news, but Reed has been arrested a couple times in the past few years on alcohol related charges.  He’s been extremely lucky, I guess you could say, that a few of his teammate’s transgressions has pushed his not only to the back-burner, but off the stove completely.  Or maybe a funny haired kicker getting in trouble just isn’t that newsworthy.
Santonio Holmes – OK, at first I was shocked to see Holmes traded away for only a 5th round draft pick.  I mean NOBODY trades a 26 year old, Super Bowl MVP just coming into his prime.  Just take a look at these stats:  235 receptions, 3835 yards and 20 TDs so far in his short career.  Ok, now take a look at these stats:  1 disorderly conduct arrest, 1 domestic violence/assault arrest, numerous run-ins with the law and the league for marijuana issues, suspended by the team for 1 game, and now suspended by the league for 4 games.  His contract is up at the end of the 2010 season, and he’s looking for a huge payday, and his agent basically stated that he wants a big deal in a big market.  Meaning Pittsburgh realistically had no shot of resigning him.  Add that to the 4 game suspension due to his marijuana habit, and the behind closed doors incidents/issues he has with management concerning his problems and attitude, and it is no surprise that he was dealt.  Might as well get something for him, as well as using it as a message that “if we’ll trade a SB MVP, we’re open to getting rid of anybody.”  I am sure that message was sent to, and hopefully received by Stooge #3.
Ben Roethlisberger – Two sexual assault allegations within nine months, doesn’t sound like it’s been a very good year for Big Ben.  The 1st allegation is a civil suit, no charges filed and no involvement by the police.  This seemed to be fading away with the accuser looking for a settlement.  Then came Milledgeville, GA.  This most recent incident has received much more media coverage, but in the end the DA stated that he did not have enough evidence to press charges.  He believes something bad happened, and that basically Ben is a bad guy, he just couldn’t prove it in court.  He went into enough detail that I felt a little dirty just listening to it, and felt the need for a long shower when the press conference was over.  “We prosecute crimes.  We don’t prosecute morals.”  That’s a great line delivered by the DA.  What Ben did technically may not have been criminal (as far we know), but most people agree the whole incident was morally bankrupt.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not begrudging Ben for going out to bars, getting his drink on, and having fun.  He’s a 28 year old single guy, partying is not against the law.  However, once you channel your inner ‘Humpty Dance’ (for those who don’t remember the classic song in the 90s with the phrase “I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom”) you’ve crossed the line.  She was drunk, he was drunk, they were in a dingy bar bathroom, not something you think a two time SB winning QB should be involved with.  Sure, drunken hook-ups like that may happen at college campuses across the country on any given weekend, but one would assume that an NFL QB would try and hold himself to a higher morale standard than the average drunken college student.  Ben has to remember that he represents the Black and Gold, and every decision he makes is a direct reflection of these colors, and somewhat indirectly each of us in Steeler Nation. 
Santonio found out, and Ben is learning quickly that no player, no matter how great they are, is bigger than the team.  The team comes first, and if you don’t like that, then it’s been nice knowing you.  See you later and have a nice career.  The Steeler’s jettisoned Holmes and all his baggage and I believe the only reason Ben is still around is that a franchise QB has a little longer leash than a WR.  QBs are hard to come by, but once he reaches the end of that leash, I believe the Rooney’s will have no second thoughts about jettisoning Ben as well.
**As of writing this, Ben has met with Goodell and is awaiting his punishment.  Knowing Goodell and listening to Mr. Rooney’s recent press conference, I see there is no way Ben is not suspended for at least 2 games.  After that, I do think Ben will be the starter once again for the Steelers in 2010, but one more false step and he’s done in the Burgh.  Sure, Steeler Nation will cheer for him again on Sundays, but it is going to be awhile before he regains the trust and off-field support of the fans.  A wise man once told me, “You can’t recover from a lapse of integrity.”  And that is exactly what Ben is going to have to try and do.
How do you feel about Big Ben and his future as a Steeler under the current circumstances?


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