Steigerwald: Weighing in on Big Ben
What if it's true?
What if it turns out that the woman in Reno, Nevada, who says she was raped by Ben Roethlisberger, is telling the truth• What if somebody produces a video tape• Based on what I've heard about the alleged incident, I would be shocked if it turned out to be true. There are probably only two people on the planet who know what — if anything — happened in that hotel room back in July of 2008.
The fact that no criminal charges have been filed, combined with Roethlisberger's strong denials and a promise to "fight" the allegations leads most people to believe that the accuser's case is pretty flimsy.
I'll be shocked if he's not exonerated, but, back to the question: What if it's true?
How would the Steeler Nation react• Would Terrible Towel-carrying members of The Nation be so offended by his defaming of the black and gold that they would boo him and demand that Art Rooney II cut him loose?
I don't think so.
· Then there's Mike Vick. There are reports that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has agreed to allow him to sign with a team now, go to training camp and then serve a four-game suspension.
Here's hoping that no team wants to bring him and the circus that will be following him to training camp, but would you be surprised if a team takes a flier on him?
There will be lots of outrage and there will be a lot of fans who will be disappointed and angered by their team signing him.
Until he does his first long-distance scramble.
All it will take is a couple of semi-spectacular series in an exhibition game and fans will begin the healing process. If Vick's perceived as a guy who can make the difference between making the playoffs and staying home, the only fans who will care about the dog fighting will be the ones he sees on the road.
Fans are fickle that way.
· Pacman Jones' agent claims he has been in contact with a few teams who might be interested in signing his client, most likely after training camps have opened.
This guy should be unemployable in North America and not just in football. What self-respecting human being could read this guy's rap sheet and look at the distraction that he has been for the two teams unfortunate enough to sign him and still entertain the thought of putting him in their locker room• There are probably several human beings now employed as NFL personnel directors who would bring him in in a heartbeat.
· Believe it or not, the U.S. and Canadian Olympic hockey teams will be holding practices in less than a month. Word is, NHL officials would be happy to see the association with the Olympics end, and I'm right there with them. It's time to go back to the amateurs. Let's find out if the USA can compete with the best players in the world not playing in the NHL. Don't get me wrong, the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament in Vancouver will be must-see TV for me. It should make for some great hockey, but it's really an NHL all-star tournament, and I'd rather see the kids play. There's also something wrong with the idea that Brooks Orpik should be out there trying to take off Sidney Crosby's head. It'll be interesting, no doubt, but not very smart when you're talking about franchise hockey players.
· The Pirates won't miss Adam LaRoche. He was a .147 hitter the month before they traded him, and they'll have no trouble finishing last without him. The scary thing about LaRoche is that he makes over $7 million a year. He's a .260 hitter who will hit 20-30 home runs. There's always the chance that this latest purge to rebuild will be successful, but if a mediocre player like LaRoche can make over $7 million, when will the Pirates be able to hold on to good players?
· Ben Roethlisberger's next few months might have been a little easier if he had a few more friends in the local media. He apparently has friends at ESPN. Despite the story being reported all over he country by other media outlets, ESPN sat on it for 36 hours. You don't think the suits up there in Bristol, Conn., were worried about jeopardizing their chances of another riveting sit down with Suzy Kolber, do you•