As we continue to have any many voices from Steeler Nation heard as possible, here is the AFC North blog's second installment this weekend of thoughts and opinions on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger:
Jon from Cleveland, OH, writes: As a lifelong Steelers fan I'm not real happy with Ben. My daughter (now 4) could say "Roethlisberger" when she was 2. She's outgrown her Ben jersey, and I'll have to explain why we are not getting another one--we'll get Hines Ward's or Troy Polamalu's--to a 4 year old. Ben's leash is more than short...His attitude and behavior have to change. A great season, even title No. 7, will not be enough.
Coreen from Davis, CA, writes: I am incredibly frustrated with the NFL right now. I don't understand why they continuously think that they are "above the law." I realize that they think they are making their players good role models for children, by showing them that there are consequences for their actions. But children should also understand that people are innocent until proven guilty, and that people shouldn't take law and punishment into their own hands. I think that players should only be punished by the NFL if they break rules directly affecting the game. For example, steroid use. For other infractions I think it should be in the law's hands. It is absurd to me that The Steelers' ORGANIZATION is getting fined because a case was opened and dismissed. Get over yourself NFL!
TMC from Virginia writes: All I have to say about this stuff with Ben is this: You've had other star players make various mistakes off the field and they did not stay. They either were traded or released. The same needs to happen with Ben. Let's take our chances with Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon, who showed a lot of promise with his start against the Baltimore Ravens last season. And the other positive is he's young and can grow into hopefully a good, if not great, QB. Also bring in another player as the third QB.
Bruv from St. Vincent College writes: I think people are being overly critical of Ben. Of course he put himself in a poor position, but is there a clause in his contract where he must be a good role model for children? If so, then he should be suspended. But if there isn't, then he should not be suspended by the Steelers or the NFL. He was not charged with a crime, and his morals should not have anything to do with his job. He can still do a great job, regardless of how he conducts himself outside of football. If it is not in his contract from the Steelers or NFL, then he should not be suspended for his "questionable behavior."
Fasi from Chicago writes: I have been a Steeler fan all of my life, and there is no team in all of sports that I love more than the Steelers. Being the father of a young girl I feel like I have been personally affected by Ben's latest indiscretion. For the first time in my life I am wondering if it's worth it being a Steeler fan when the organization is no longer the model organization which I have loved. I don't know if he did it, but his history of behavior is starting make me feel like Ben may be a scumbag.
Pedro from São Paulo, Brazil, writes: Ben has been accused but not charged with any crimes. The slate is clean. He's a top five NFL QB who has brought the Steelers two Lombardi trophies in six years. If he was a backup lineman, he would be on a short leash. But he is not. That's how it works in the NFL.
Phil from Bethel Park, PA, writes: I'm happy that Ben will be back as our quarterback because I have no faith in Dixon or Batch over the course of an entire season. However, I think Ben is a despicable human being even if he is innocent of these charges. He needs to start to realize how lucky he is to be in the position that he is in, and realize that he is not above the law or any better than anyone else. I have no idea how hard it is to be in his position, and that he very may well be a target. But I do know that a little humility and civility can go a long way.
RJ from Virginia Beach, VA, writes: I guarantee to you that the people who are most angry with Ben are the ones who have idolized him over the years. Athletes should not be idolized any more than actors or musicians; just admire them for their skill and move on. Guys like Ben and Peyton Manning may have likable images in the media, but those are just images. Maybe now people will begin to understand that. I'm sure a lot of the uproar has been caused by people who feel cheated by their "idol" who was never meant to be a role model in the first place.
Jim S from Boston, MA, writes: Every offseason it's a different story with Big Ben. He is showing no respect to the Rooney family, his teammates/coaches, and the city of Pittsburgh and its loyal fans by continuing to put himself in the offseason headlines. They will turn on him, if not already, the moment he slips up on the field. Hopefully this is finally the wake up call he needs. But my personal opinion will remain the same -- I've liked him on the field but never off the field. He likes to glorify his injuries to give him warrior-like status and he's a sleaze socially, which has been confirmed by his latest run-in in GA. Definitely not a guy of high moral fiber.
Edward from Brandon, Vermont, writes: For me Roethlisberger will be on a short leash. He is certainly guilty of questionable judgment and boorish behavior, but so was I when I was young, single and stupid. The question is, when will he start to mature? We call our Steelers a "family." When a member of our family commits an error, we don't disown them. We also don't condone bad behavior. But we do offer support and guidance in the hopes that the family member will grow as a person. Put another way, sure Mr. Roethlisberger is a lunkhead, but he's our lunkhead.