3/12.10 11:30 A.M.
Wow. I never expected this kind of a response on the first day. I had hoped to get 10 or 12 visitors. You can see by the comments that I got bombarded with responses to my two posts. I have to thank Bob Smizik of the Post-Gazette for giving the site a plug yesterday. I still think Bob’s the most readable columnist in town, even though he’s not in the paper. You should check his blog every day:
I think what caught everyone’s attention and caused my post to get quite a bit of play around the country was the reference to Roethlisberger blowing off a Make-A-Wish kid.
I can’t tell you the exact date and I’m not even sure about the year. It was about three years ago. I got an email from a woman who told me that KDKA should stop treating Roethlisberger like a hero and start reporting the truth about him. She told me that worked at a local hotel and met the family of a young girl who had come to town to be granted her wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They had come back from the Steelers facility on the South Side and the little girl was crying because Ben Roethlisberger had not shown up as promised. The girl got to meet several Steelers after practice and the family appreciated that but the girl was still upset about being stood up by Ben. I explained to the woman that I couldn’t go on the air with story like that based on her email. Eventually we spoke on the phone and she went into more detail about what a terrible experience it was for this little girl with cystic fibrosis. The email that she sent me was seen by several members of the Pittsburgh sports media. When the email was shown to KDKA-TV’s news director, he made it clear that he wasn’t interested in touching the story with a 10 foot pole. I told the woman who had contacted me that I needed to hear it from the parents themselves and I said that, if what she said was true, it really needed to be made public. Not long after that, I received an email from a woman claiming to be the girl’s mother. She backed up everything that the woman from the hotel had said but she said she didn’t want to go public with it in deference to her daughter. That’s as far as the story went. Most of the local sports media are aware of the story. I couldn’t make the story public when I was at KDKA because we would have needed the parents to go on camera and because station management wasn’t interested in pursuing it. I also didn’t feel comfortable telling the story in my newspaper columns because of the parents’ reluctance to go public. I didn’t have a blog until yesterday and blogs are different. I feel like I can post a story on a blog with the idea that the reader can take it for what it’s worth. My post was just one more story in an avalanche of stories about what a jackass Ben Roethlisberger is. Maybe the woman who worked in the hotel made the story up and then found someone in Ohio to go along with the scam by sending me an email. I guess that’s a possibility. Based on what I’ve seen from Roethlisberger the last few years, I believe the story to be true. I didn’t post the story because I expected to create a media firestorm and generate lots of traffic to this site. In light of everything that was coming out about Roethlisberger, I just felt the time and place were right to finally tell the story,