In a scathing and unapologetic Sports Illustrated cover story, Jack McCallum has written what will likely be seen as the definitive piece on the behavior (both recent and historic) of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. The article reads as a collage of specific events that together bring us closer to understanding Ben's psyche.
McCallum sugar coats nothing. He reveals several of Ben's unsavory acts that the public was predominately unaware of.
- According to a reporter and cameraman for KDKA, several months after Ben's motorcycle accident in 2006, KDKA cameras caught up to a helmetless Ben riding his motorcycle on the highway. Ben proceeded to grace the camera with a middle-finger salute as he sped away. The footage was destroyed by KDKA in order to not damage their relationship to the Steelers.
- Reportedly, after Ben's first assault charge in Reno, he was in a TGI Fridays in Pittsburgh, and made disparaging remarks to a pregnant waitress; his specific quote being, "Did your boyfriend forget to pull out?"
- There are several accounts in the article of Ben walking out on bar/restaurant tabs and ignoring cover charges.
- An unnamed source close to Ben reveals more about his immature behavior, claiming him to be disrespectful to women, and continuing his reprehensible behavior even while enjoying pick-up basketball games.
For Steelers fans, the article is hard to digest and even harder to comprehend. Not that McCallum is vague and unclear, but it is simply hard to comprehend how deep Ben's ego problems run. The story hits on a factor that is predominately unspoken. For the most part, the dust has cleared from this latest Roethlisberger incident. We know all that we can about what happened that night in Georgia. What has not cleared, rather what has continued to stew, is the city's contempt for Ben and his outlandish behavior. In an age where the latest news story shoves prior events to the backburner, this is something that has not gone away.
Ben has lost the city, and each passing day makes that loss look irreversible. Ben may win games upon his return, maybe even another Super Bowl, who knows. But the honeymoon is over, Ben will never reclaim his position as the King of Pittsburgh.
It began and ended with a crash.