HIGH ANXIETY

OK, let’s clear something up. I’ve been accused of accusing Ben Roethlisberger of being high on something else the night that he had his encounter with the 20 year old college kid.

I was responding to eyewitness accounts that I read and heard that said that Ben did not appear to be drinking much that night. Many of those comments were made with the implication that the accusation had less cedibility because he was probably in complete control of himself.

I only pointed out that a person, any person, can be high without drinking. Let’s say that Ben wasn’t accused of a serious crime but, instead, was seen in a bar walking across tables with a lampshade on his head and somebody said, “I didn’t see him take one drink.”

Wouldn’t your next thought be, “Geez, I wonder what he was high on”? That wouldn’t be an accusation. It would be considering another possible cause for a person’s erratic behavior. Ben may have done nothing wrong that night and he may have been sober as a judge. But if  he did lose control and commit a crminal act and evidence suggests that he wasn’t drunk, isn’t the next logical question, could he have been high on something else that might have caused him to do something so stupid?

I’m not discounting the possibility that Roethlisberger is innocent in both cases where he has been accused of sexual assault, but I’m not discounting his guilt, either.

And if he is guilty in both insatnces, wouldn’t that be a sign of a guy who is out of control?

And if a guy shows an inability to control himself, why would anyone in this day and age stop at alcohol when speculating on what might be causing the erratic behavior?

  • Darrell

    Who is comparing a rumor to a lawsuit? I was comparing a rumor to a rumor, the Make-A-Wish rumor versus getting caught performing a homosexual act in a local park by lenient law enforcement.

    That’s the only thing you’ve added to all this right? And you sat on it until it was beneficial to you. Are your reading comprehension skills equal to your writing skills too? Did you think I was accusing you of sitting on the Tahoe story, or the Georgia story for a ‘long, long time’? The only thing you added to all this is gratitous piling on for reasons one could conclude were self-serving. Although speculation on my part for sure. And to answer your question, no I would not be surprised if someone ‘guilty’ of sexual assault was high on something other than alcohol. Just as, after reading your original and response, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were high either.

    My post was hardly different than yours. Gratuitous pot shots, speculations, character assassination, baseless rumors. If my post got you all pissy, why would you be surprised if your remarks illicit similar responses? You catchin my drift yet?

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      I said I had been bombarded with stories about Reothlisberger and asked why he was such a jackass by an unbelievable amount of people I gave an example. You take it for what it’s worth. I never had anybody send me an email about any contact with Stewart in Schenley Park and there was never any email or other evidence about Stewart to quash. Calm down.

      • Bob

        John,

        I don’t understand why people are getting so upset about your comments. It is readily apparent that you are no longer with a major media outlet because you are an irresponsible hack journalist.

        • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

          I really fooled them for those 33 years didn’t I?

      • Eric

        Sounds like alot of the “true” steeler fans wish they were that girl being sexually assaulted. Keep standing by your man! A Steeler win is the main priority here is it not???

        • The_Game

          Innocent until proven guilty Eric. Why is it hard for the Roethlisberger haters to understand that.

          Here’s what I think…Big Ben parties a lot…goes to the clubs and rejects many skanks. These same skanks then make up stories about him, like not signing an autograph or blowing off a Make a Wish Kid.

          Also, as the star QB and a possible future Hall of Famer, Ben attracts a lot of autograph hounds…many of whom put those signed items on eBay hoping to cash in. Well, Ben can’t accommodate every single request and when he turns someone down, the rumors start.

  • Harry Beanbag

    Why all the speculation? With any celebrity you can find thousands of people that think he’s the greatest guy since sliced bread and thousands who think he’s a ten pound turd in a five pound bucket. The media always wants to do the thinking for us rather than just present the facts and let us come to a conclusion. Fact: Ben spoke with police on the night of the incident. Does a guilty guy do that or does he either head out of town right away or say “I want my lawyer.” Make your own conclusion. Finally, how is it that no news person can ascertain whether there was a lock on the VIP unisex bathroom? Isn’t that germane?

  • DavidMcGwire

    I will never understand the theory that to be a “true” Steeler fan you have to support every player as if they were your family. To me it’s completely ridiculous. Does anyone realize what Pittsburghers would do if this situation happened to any other NFL quarterback? He would be crucified; but because Ben is “Our Guy” we are supposed to stand by him? I’m not saying he’s innocent or guilty of what he accused of…but he is certainly guilty of bringing negative attention to the Steelers, and for that we have a right to judge. No one gets accused of something this serious, twice, who has done nothing wrong. Whether he has done something illegal is another story.

    By comparasin, to make an example by using a less serious case, I whole heartedly believe Matt Cook should have been suspended last week. His hit was dirty and though “legal” was cheap. It doesn’t make me less of Penguins fan for saying that…and if you think it does….you’re ignorant person.

  • Bill in PA

    Great blog, John. Keep up the good work.
    Who knows what meds Ben may be on considering the tremendous amount of brain trauma that has occurred over the years. All those concussions had to have taken their toll. Maybe his attorneys will use the “Broken Brain” defense to explain his aggressive behavior. Pass the blame to the pharmaceutical companies and the NFL on why your client is an entitled sexual predator.

  • Darrell

    10 to 1? Most asked about in 30 years? Please. How does that compare to the ratio of “Is Kordell gay?” questions you must have fielded over the years? As big of a Stewart taint jockey as you were, I find all this posturing now a bit phoney. And how did you react whenever anyone would ask you about the Schenley Park rumors? Did your news director quash that one too?

    This is all just an opportunistic dog pile by a guy with few remaining opportunities. Schefter called you a well-respected journalist? Yeah, ok. Must be all that cache of respect that keeps pushing you down the media ladder to one rung above freelancing for a bingo parlor newsletter.

    Ben’s a bad guy? Maybe. I once knew a guy who heard a rumor about another guy, and he sat on that rumor for a long, long time never once revealing it publicly. Then one day when he had something uninteresting to sell, he used that rumor to manufacture interest/sales. Even went further by speculating on drug use. What would you call a guy like that? Scumbag?

    Any of that may or may not accurately portray what’s going on here. I don’t know. It is plausible. Has as much foundation as anything you’ve proferred. So how is that different, other than being the target rather than the shooter?

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      Thanks for your kind words. How stupid can a person be to compare a rumor to a law suit? The lawsuit against Roethlisberger is not a rumor, you moron. Neither is the investigation going on now in Georgia. The stuff about Stewart never progressed beyond the rumor stage. There was nothing for KDKA to quash. If Stewart had been arrested it would have made the news. And to answer your question, yeah, it has been 10-1. The Stewart rumors amounted to one story. If you have such little respect for my opinion, why did you visit the blog? Check through some of the responses and you’ll finds lots and lots of people who disagree with you. And I didn’t speculate on drug use. I pointed out that there are other ways to get high and I asked a question. Would you be surprised to find out that a guy who is accused of sexual assault for the second time in 8 months was high on something other than alcohol. My answer to that question is no. What’s yours?

      • Sid 8.7

        Kordell may or may not have been gay but he used ten times more discretion in his personal life than Ben has ever demonstrated. Ben’s BMOC frat boy antics are getting very old, very quickly and he only has himself to blame.

        He should take some lessons from Sidney Crosby who is the face of his league and shows nothing but composure and class in the face of enormous pressure.

        • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

          The stupid, unsubstantiated rumors about Stewart were the only negative off the field stories I ever heard about the guy. He’s one of the nicest guys ever to wear a Steelers uniform and the restraint he has shown when given the opportunity to rip the fans who abused him while he was here. I devote a chapter in my book to why I defended as long as I did. As I write in the book, Bill Cowher ruined his career.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

            I meant to say that his restrain has been remarkable.

  • Sid 8.7

    I have been a Steeler fan my entire life. My father used to take us to noon Mass on Sunday and then bail out early so we could get home to see kickoff. I have lived and died with the Steelers for years and while I root for Ben, I have a very hard time liking him due to the rather large list of stories I have heard about him and one personal encounter with him.

    I have no illusions about athletes and their sense of entitlement. I realize that money, fame and youth mixed together is a very volatile combo. However………. to be accused once is one thing but to be accused of the same thing within such a short time frame and do almost nothing to protect yourself from a second incident is just absolute stupidity.

    Bottom line, Ben is an adult and he has to deal with the consequences of his decisions; good or bad. I hope he learns from this but considering recent history………. I doubt it.

    Keep up the good work, JS.

  • Andy Chomos

    John
    Congrats on starting your own BLOG site. Between you and Smiz there is plenty of good sports info to read.
    I can’t get into how I know this, but I am 100% confident that drugs are not the issue here. The issue is poor judgement and arrogance.

    I’m surprised so little has been said about Ben’s shirt selection that night. Wearing a large devil face on your shirt is not the best choice.

    At age 28, time to grow up.

    Look forward to talking Pirates with you in the near future.

  • speagle

    Haven’t seen too many comments about this … but what about the sheer stupidity of wearing the black devil shirt???

    What is the point?

    • Jason C

      I agree speagle, that shirts was messed up, the boy is a jackass.

  • Jeff

    John, I can’t disagree with your assessment on BR’s behavior but I would definitely question your timing on the matter. Enjoyed watching you on the “Nightly Sports Call” and don’t ever recall a BR character assassination (a deserved one at that) during your time on the show. So is it a matter of convenience that you bring this up now or were you not allowed to express your feelings on the matter? BTW good luck and keep up the good work

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      I probably didn’t have the opportunity on the Nightly Sports Call. I ripped him on the radio, though. I was not allowed to pursue the Make-A-Wish story

      • NuttingHostage

        Given the circumstances, I think the Steelers need to begin considering contingency plans in the event Ben is unavailable for part, if not all of the upcoming season.

        Have you looked at any of the available QB free agents that might make sense?

        Personally, I would not mind seeing Dixon get a chance, but I’d want another veteran backup in case Dixon doesn’t work out. Charlie is awfully brittle these days and I don’t think he could remain healthy for much of a season if needed.

        I like the idea of reacquiring Leftwich from the Bucs.

        Any thoughts?

        • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

          they’ll have to have a fall back plan. If they think he’s going to be charged, they’ll be scrambling. I just wonder if Dixon can last a season. Of course they have Randle El now. Not that they would ever consider him even though I think he’d be better than dixon.

        • The_Game

          Dixon=Kordell; so, no thanks.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

            Yeah Dixon is black. Kordell is black. They’re exactly the same. Brilliant.

          • The_Game

            No, John, I meant that they are both scrambling QBs versus pocket passers. I didn’t mean to imply they were black. I could care less what their skin color was. I referenced Kordell because he was the last true scrambling QB we had.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

            Neither could scramble as well as Ben. I think you mean running quarterback.

  • Bobby

    Come on people, think! If there was even the slightest bit of guilt on the part of Ben, he’d pay these girls (what they want anyway) and make them go away. By Ben pulling out all stops to defend himself and drag this out just tells you he is innocent and wants to clear his name.

    • Ray

      @Jason & Bobby,

      Whether guilty or not, Ben’s attorneys will seek to “wear down” his accusers with motions and counter-motions and, as we have already seen, releases of embarrassing stories. The purpose is to get the accusers to at least accept much less if they decide to settle out of court or, at best, drop the suit/charges altogether. Being too forthcoming with public statements, etc., is counter to that strategy.

  • Jason

    Let me toss this one in the mix, if Ben didnt do anything, then why will he not talk to the cops there, or provide them with his DNA or better yet, why hasnt he appeared on all 3 of the major news channels around and address this like he did the first time?

  • Oscar

    Can’t we get Kordell back?

  • Casey

    The fact he “hadn’t been drinking much” doesn’t logically tell me that he must have been high on something. As a matter of fact, that’s just shotty logic on your part. The next logical step would be that, had he committed the crime, it was a crime of power/passion. Isn’t that what most sexual assaults are anyway, crimes of power? Or do you believe that Roethlisberger’s character is such that he MUST be on something to commit such an act?

    • Casey

      Oh and for the record, I myself think that it’s time for the Rooney’s to get rid of Roethlisberger. Even if he’s innocent, he’s a distraction and has exhibited poor judgment TWICE in even putting himself in that position. I’ve heard people say that it comes with wealth and fame. That’s funny, because I haven’t heard about Troy Polamalu, Sidney Crosby, or Evgeni Malkin’s legal battles with the sexual assault arena. Have you? No, because as far as I can tell, those three men are shining examples of how a young, talented, and uber-famous professional athlete should act.

      In my opinion, someone like Mr. Polamalu should be the real face of the franchise. He’s humble. He has beliefs that one could look up to, even if they don’t believe in Christ as Troy does, he still sets an example of how to live a healthy and wholesome life. Ben? Not so much.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      Sigh.
      I merely pointed out that the reports that he wasn’t drinking much didn’t rule out the possibility that he was high. How can you disagree with that? I didn’t imply that he was high on something else. I just tried to point out that how much he appeared to be drinking was irrelevant because alcohol isn’t the only way for a guy to get high.

      • Casey

        The reports that he wasn’t drinking much don’t rule out the possibility that he eats babies in his spare time either? Should I just assume that?

        I guess the nice thing about an internet blog is the lower level of journalistic integrity.

        • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

          God, there’s a lot of stupidity out here. This is the last time I’ll explain this:
          1. Reports from the scene suggested that Ben didn’t appear to be doing a lot of drinking
          2. Witnesses and people commenting on the incident used that information to cast doubt on whether the girl was telling the truth
          3.I pointed out that a person doesn’t have to drink to get high and asked if anybody would be surprised to hear that he was high on something else.

          That is not an accusation. It’s a question. I have no reason to believe that he was high on anything. I also can’t believe that anybody would be surprised to hear that a guy who had been bar hooping all night was doing someting in addition to or as an alternative to alcohol. I also wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he was sober as a judge. Please stop with the moronic analogies.

      • T-Bag

        John, I didn’t see your original post, but like it or not, the fact that you mentioned the possibility of drug use makes it look like you were implying that he was under the influence of some drug(s) other than alcohol. If that wasn’t the case, then there was really no reason to mention it at all. You did imply it, even if you don’t particularly believe in what you implied. In addition, there is nothing “journalistically” wrong with putting it out there. You didn’t claim that he WAS high on some drug(s), it sounds like you simply said it was possible that he was.

        I can tell you that I’ve only seen Ben in person one time, and it was along with most of the other regular, everyday players, and it was out of the general public’s eye. I can also tell you that he was the only one that behaved like a total, 100% entitled asshole.

        My best guess is that Ben was hanging out with this girl all night and at a certain point, probably under the influence of something (he does not look sober in several of the pictures), he decided to make a move on this girl, which she resisted in some way. Ben, being an entitled jerk with an ego bigger than his head, thought, “Who in the hell is this little bitch to pull away from ME! And after I spent all night hanging out with her, buying her drinks, etc.” So he restrained her, she pulled away, fell, and smacked her head. Based on the sexual assault allegations, I’m guessing that he fondled her in some manner, but since the police asked for a DNA sample, perhaps it is more sinister.

        That’s my scenario–we’ll see how it all turns out.

        T

  • great_santini

    I gotta say, this blog is fantastic John. Great stuff, good opinions, and fascinating to hear the stories that are floating around behind the scenes. Keep up the good work. PS…I got the link to the blog from Adam Schecter’s (sp?) blog on ESPN.com where he referred to you as a highly respected member of the Pittsburgh sports media. I couldn’t agree more. Keep up the good work.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      My man, Adam.

  • Laura

    Its ashame that John has to defend his opinion while Ben gets a pass on his bad behavior by the very same critics.

    I guess we can officially say we live in a society where “good is evil and evil is good.”

    • The_Game

      Laura,

      I think he has to defend his opinion because he’s a journalist. And the rules of journalism dictate that when you present a story, you need to back it up with facts, not speculation. Then again, this is a blog and it his opinion. Basically, in a blog, we can accuse anyone of anything and don’t have to worry about taking the time to do the research to find out the facts.Isn’t the Internets grand?

  • Weaver

    I used the word “libel” in my last post and…..it wasn’t posted? I can’t believe it! Now, you are back peddling like an official on a turnover at half court. Just as we hold athletes to a higher standard regarding their behavior off the field, journalism has its rules as well. Your attempt to water your allegations down are insulting. Did you look into attorney fees yet????

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      I don’t know why it wasn’t posted. Feel free to let it rip again. I am not afraid. I’ve instructed the webmaster to re-post the original one that I sent to the trash by mistake.

  • Jason

    John,

    I agree with you. Acccually in MY OPINION if you look at the pictures of him at that bar, he looks messed up in some of them. Like i said before, i am a steelers fan, just not a Ben fan. Thanks for the blog.

  • Bill

    Been a huge fan of yours ever since the days of the “Fantastic Four” or whatever you, Stan, Bill and Myron were called back in the 70’s on WTAE. Still remember the pinball machine commercial. I also enjoyed the column that you used to write weekly in the paper. Blog is awesome! It is about time someone tells the truth about Ben. Others have hinted at things but get real quiet real quick after that. I’ll be checking in daily!

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      Thanks….It was the Front Four

  • OneEyedBlindMan

    Douchelisthberger is HIGH on himself, that is what he is high on. That is the most powerful drug know to the human race.

    Just like the worlds greatest golfer, he has a very bad case of “entitlement”.

  • Cambot

    But then again, it may have nothing to do with stimulants; the guy may just be a jerk.

  • http://SteelerNation.com David

    Take a look at this picture – the guy on the far right.
    http://www.mothermetal.com/TBS/Bands/Kingdom%20Come/KingdomComeBandPic.jpg

    Just look at that guy with his long freaky hair, playing in one of those crazy rock bands. That guy must have been on every drug under the sun. Lord only know how many groupies he manhandled back stage. I also have an email from an anonymous person claiming that he’s a complete dick and pushes small children to the ground.

    See? Isn’t internet speculation fun?

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      Was he accused for the second time in 8 months of sexually assaulting a woman? Has he been officially sued for the first offense and been declared the perp in the second one? Nice try on a really,really stupid analogy.

      • http://SteelerNation.com David

        Anyone can accuse anyone of anything, which wasn’t the point anyway. It’s your suggestions of Ben skipping out on Make A Wish appearances and the possibility of drug use with nothing to back it up.

        I’m not defending Ben or his sexual allegations. These allegations are real things from real people that claim to have proof and are willing to share it. Your suggestions have no corroboration at all.

        And please, let’s be adults here and stop with the “I didn’t accuse him of drug use” nonsense. The only reason you bring it up is because you hope the story grows legs. An educated journalist with as long a career as you have knows exactly what you are doing and you should be above it.

        • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

          Once again, it was mentioned in stories about the alleged incident that Ben did not appear to be drinking. And the implication from witnesses was that that worked in his favor because it made it less likely that he would be so out of control and therefore less likely to have committed the alleged act. I was merely pointing out that the fact that he didn’t appear to be drinking didn’t rule out the possibility that he could still be high. And I asked if anybody would be surprised if he was high on something else. I think it’s a fair question and my answer would be no. But I would say that about anybody I saw in a bar at 1:30 in the morning. And, by the way, absent the sexual assault charge, I wouldn’t care if he WAS high on something else. If I were an NFL owner, I’d be happy if my players chose smoking weed over drinking alcohol. After all, how often do you hear that someone who was high on weed was accused of sexually assaulting someone?