What was Roethlisberger thinking?
Appeal Sports Writer
I’m sure many people are thinking it, but I’ll come right out and say it. Hey Ben Roethlisberger, are you nuts?
Roethlisberger, in case you were hiding under a rock on Monday or maybe had your attention on the shooting in downtown Reno, broke his jaw and nose in a motorcycle crash. He wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
Certainly I’m glad that the Steelers’ star quarterback is going to be OK, but you can bet that both riding a motorcycle and not wearing a helmet are going to come up in discussion with Bill Cowher, the Steelers’ no-nonsense coach.
Cowher had repeatedly talked to Roethlisberger about wearing a helmet, but the young quarterback didn’t like them because they were uncomfortable. If that isn’t in his next contract, it should be.
I hope that Roethlisberger isn’t one of these young stars that thinks he’s invincible. Nobody is invincible, and the sooner he realizes it, the better.
This probably isn’t the best analogy, but I’ll use it anyway. As a hitter in baseball, you can do everything right at the plate and still hit into a triple play on any given at-bat. The same can be said for driving. You can be doing the right things and get in an accident. It happens everyday.
I think the thing that irks me the most about Roethlisberger is that he obviously doesn’t understand the big picture; how his injury, had it been more serious, could have affected a lot of people, namely his family and his teammates.
The Steelers pay Roethlisberger a huge sum of money to play football well, and that means making wise decisions on and off the field. His football team depends on him to stay healthy and play well for them to have success. The monetary livelihood of his teammates hinges on how well he plays in some instances. That isn’t something to be tampered with, and that’s what Roethlisberger does every time he goes out for a joy ride on his motorcycles.
This time Roethlisberger was lucky. That may not be the case the next time this happens. His career and life could be taken away from him in a heartbeat.
Obviously he can’t be fined if he doesn’t miss any time with the team, but you have to wonder about his mental make-up. Is this going to be a guy the team can depend on down the stretch, or is he going to be one of those happy-go-lucky knuckleheads that goes with the flow and doesn’t stop to think how his actions affect others.
I’m not sure I know what the fascination is with motorcycles and professional athletes. No, make that fast cars and professional athletes.
Is there an unwritten law that Aaron Brooks has to drive a Corvette because he’s a big-name quarterback? There’s nothing wrong with a simple sports utility vehicle, Lexus or Lincoln Town Car. Athletes should worry about whether people respect them as people and not based on how well they play their sport or the kind of wheels they have.
Remember, when the wheels are gone and the career is over, you are left with the athlete, and in the case of a lot of athletes that’s not a good thing.
Ex-Steeler QB Terry Bradshaw reportedly told Roethlisberger to save the motorcycle for when he retires. I haven’t seen any quotes by Bradshaw on any Web-sites, but I can imagine he’s got some anger in his belly right now.
And I can’t say I blame him.
No matter whether it comes out that the accident wasn’t Roethlisberger’s fault, I think there are some pretty unhappy people in Steelerland.
• Believe it or not, I watched three World Cup matches in the first two days of the event. That’s a record for me.
This is probably an unpopular opinion, but watching soccer on television is like watching paint dry or grass grow. There just isn’t enough scoring to suit me.
Part of that I’m sure is because I don’t understand some of the little nuances of the game like I do with football, basketball, baseball and even ice hockey.
I view soccer as a game more fun to play than watch, though most people say that about any sport.
There was a poll on Yahoo that asked whether people thought the United States would advance after its first-round loss. The answer was a resounding no. In fact, I think it was something like 80 percent to 20 percent.
It will be interesting to see if the ratings go down in the United States if and when Team USA is eliminated. My guess is that it won’t. You might lose the casual fan, but I don’t think you will lose the hardcore soccer fan.