Several weeks ago, just as the Ben Roethisberger sexual assault case in Georgia was breaking , I put up my first post for this website.

At the time, I didn’t think more than 10 or 12 people would see it. I really thought I was writing it for myself and it would be a tree falling in the internet forest. It was a brand new website, afterall, and nobody knew it was there.

Bob Smizik was kind enough to give me a plug on his Post Gazette blog and all Hell broke loose.  I recieved over 5,000 unique visitors in the first three days and it wasn’t long before I had 15,000.

I was being quoted on the radio in Chicago and Tampa and probably lots of other places. My original little column was linked to, at one point, 127 other websites.

I was quoted on ESPN.com and profootballtalk.com.  Sirius satellite radio called and asked me to do what ended up being a 20 minute interview.

Mark Madden ripped me on his radio show and I had people visiting the website to tell me that I was going to be sued and that I was out of line for writing so many mean things about the Steelers’ quaarterback.

That was then. I’d like you to read that original post now and see if it seems all that outrageous.

Does all the fuss that it caused seem a little ridiculous now?

I took a lot of heat for saying that it, since there were witnesses saying that Roethlisberger didn’t appear to be drinking, the possibility that he was high on something else should be considered. And I asked if you would be surprised if that turned out to be the case.

Do you think there’s an outside chance that the Milledgeville Cops and/or the GBI considered that possibility and might have asked that question during the course of their investigation?

Something tells me that, if I had written that original post today, it would have been almost like a tree falling in the forest.

Does calling him a bad citizen seem all that out of line right now?

How about a jackass?

If you see Ben, tell him I said thanks for helping Just Watch The Game get out of the gate.

  • Tom in FL

    I’m also out of state and would LOVE to send one back. Only the Rooneys can take Ben’s jersey, but I can make sure my kids don’t wear one. Add an address please.

    Here’s hoping that Dan Rooney does the right thing. He does not look happy answering questions about Ben, but as long as Ben is on the team, it’s fair for the media to quesiton him too.

    • Wcares?

      I’m sure you can google their practice facility….it’s on the Southside of Pittsburgh. Or, you could probably send the to Heinz field. I think it would be interesting to see an organized, en masse mailing of #7 jerseys with personalized letters sent directly to one of those places. Just be sure to text *tv2 before you do it to let KDKA know so they can be there to cover the story when it happens, otherwise, someone’ll probably just try to cover the whole thing up.

  • msanonymous222

    I just read today’s PG article about what went on with that girl, her friends and his bodyguards, and I am heartsick. May I just say:

    Dump that son of a bitch

    • oksteelerfan

      I just read a report on the Trib that the girl has left school and is in counseling and the cop they first went to has resigned.

      Not only is Ben a creep but so is that cop, Barravecchio. The other one, Joyner is not much better. But Barravecchio told the cop Bash that “these whores in town see guys with money and accuse them of rape.”

      Another story about Ben and this cop according to WPXI is that he helped Ben put up an 8 foot security fence. He went to a zoning board committee and on audio he lied and said he was an undercover narcotics agent for the DEA when in reality he is a a full-time Coraopolis police officer occasionally assigned to the DEA task force. Ben got his fence although it was 2 feet above code.

      Everyone who has defended Ben has said he had two cops with him. Just how reliable are cops, when one of them has already proven he would lie for him? Also one who would call girls whores in a police report? It will be interesting to see if he gets to keep his job as a cop.

      I have a feeling that this won’t be the last we hear about Ben and his cop friends.

      • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

        Bad citizen.

        • oksteelerfan

          The story gets worse and makes a person wonder just how much the cops or at least one cop treated Ben like a star instead of like a suspect.

          Blash, the guy who has resigned, the one who was in photos with Ben said he may have said this f…ing b… is drunk or this b… is drunk off her a.$. He also told the girls Ben had a lot of money and if they filed a police report they’d be wasting their time.

          Now the Trib is reporting that the bathroom wasn’t secured by police and a janitor mopped it with clorox and pine-sol destroying any evidence.
          This is starting to sound like a case of cops screwing up.

  • Mary D

    After seeing Ben over the past few days I think we all have come to the same conclusion. He’s a jerk that doesn’t give a damn. He views himself as the victim, and although he will be punished by Goodell at some point, the bottom line is, he could really care less.

    If the fans and the media really want to get the message across to him that we all think he’s a jerk here are a few things we can do.
    The media: Stop interviewing him. Don’t acknowledge him, talk to all the other players, and ignore him. If it’s true that he doesn’t like to make himself available to the reporters then give him what he wants, no press time!! Don’t write about him, and if it is necessary to put his name in a column, make it as brief as possible.

    The fans: Don’t ask for an autograph. Don’t wear his jersey number anymore. If you already own one, send it back to him with a short letter stating, you don’t want to support a sexual predator.

    As for the ladies out there, you now know exactly who he is and what he is all about. Stay away from him. Stop treating him like he’s some kind of god. He’s a jerk, he’s a sexual predator. Until WE stop treating him like he’s god’s gift, he’s going to continue to treat women like garbage. We now all know the true Ben Roethlisberger and what he is all about.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      I really like the idea of sending your #7 Steelers jersey back to him. Imagine if a truckload of them showed up at the Steelers’ office on the South Side.

      • UsedtobeaSteelersfan

        John, THAT is exactly what needs to happen. Please provide the mailing address, as I do not live in Pittsburgh these days.

        • The_Game

          Actually, I’ll take your Ben jersey if you’re willing to give it away. Last jersey I owned was a #10 jersey. And it wasn’t Santonio’s.

        • oksteelerfan

          The only address I could find on the website was an address for fan mail and autographs. It was the one I used two days ago. I was going to send just a letter, but my daughter said I should send the jersey her and my other two kids bought me for Christmas a few years ago. It had only been worn once for their sake, as I’ve said before wearing someone’s name on my back is a little weird for me. I told her we should sell it on e-bay so they could get some of their money back. She said no, selling it or throwing it away doesn’t send a message. Sending it back along with a letter shows you’re serious.

  • BJM

    It;s just a game. Unfortunately in our society, athletes are elevated to a role model status due to their abilities, not because of their moral and or ethical foundations.

    Sure it’s great when the Steelers / Pirates / Pens win, but you should not expect any player to be a “good guy” just because they perform well on a field or rink. Blind support of any athlete just because of their jersey color is ridiculus.

    I would be curious to see how many people would preffer to trade him rather than continue to support him as the Steeler QB. (Perhaps you could set up a poll on your site John.)

  • Matt

    Ben is arrogant and asks like a jackass. I think the big thing that people are missing here is that if the personal lives of the rest of the team, any team, celebrity etc, were examined in detail the way Ben’s has been in the last few weeks, they would come to realize that 90% of them behave the same way and sometimes worse. So before people say I don’t want that type of guy on my team, they need to realize, he is not the only one, an likely not the worst.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      You may be right. There may be 40 or 50 jackasses on the team. They’ve been smart enough to keep us guessing.

      • Matt

        It’s all a matter of how much the media investigates it. If Ben were a back up linebacker, nobody would know he is an ass. There is a very media friendly WR that has more skeletons in his closet than anyone, and you never hear anything about him. Most people think Willie Stargell was a great guy, good thing there was no tmz during his heyday.

        • Ken

          I never met Willie Stargell, my all-time favorite player, personally. I know a couple of people who did, they they still recall the experience fondly. They said that he could not possibly have been nicer.

          I have heard that he wasn’t always nice with fans. The allegations in “Out of Left Field” certainly weren’t nice, but they also were just that, allegations.

          Well-know baseball writer Roger Angell’s said this of Stargell: “The most admired and admirable player of his time.”

  • Gary M.

    Its your opinion and your entitled. And as a blog, your not held to a standard of say a news organization (although, I’m not sure that journalistic integrity hasn’t become an oxymoron)
    But in bringing up the specific example of Ben ‘snubbing’ a Make-a-wish child, you have to bring more to the table.
    The word snub has several meanings. One is to dismiss or turn down. Is that what Mr. Roethlisberger did? If so, I’m sure that he gets thousands of requests and he can’t possibly fulfill them all and in that way, he’s not different than any other celebrity.
    Snub can also mean to dismiss or behave coldly toward. Is that what he did? If so, then maybe he really is a jackass as you state. But in your blog you tell us that he snubbed the girl and that he is a jackass with the implication that he acted inappropriately without ever telling us what he did specifically that warrants that type of conclusion.
    That’s unfair, but this is cyberspace and in this forum, journalistic principles need not apply.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      I was told that he agreed to meet with the girl and when she showed up he blew her off. Then he agreed to make up for it and meet with her again and blew her off a second time. I gave Make-A-Wish a chance to deny it and all a spokesperson would say was, “We don’t comment on individual wishes and the Steelers have been great partners with us.” I believe I pointed that out in a subsequent post.

      • Gary M.

        If that’s a true representation of what happened, then jackass is far to kind in terms of a describing the jerk. For his sake, I hope he takes the prosecutor’s advice and ‘grows up’. But if his press conference after the decision is any indication of that, we may have a new career for him on Broadway, playing the role of Peter Pan:
        I won’t grow up,
        I don’t want to wear a tie.
        And a serious expression
        In the middle of July.
        And if it means I must prepare
        To shoulder burdens with a worried air,
        I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up

        • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

          I think a tie would have been too much. The whole exercise of having someone come out and read something seems absurd to me. Send out a press release. Or maybe a Tweet.

  • KekiYoki

    I was shocked to see how Ben looked at the press conference in the Steelers’ locker room. If he were really sorry for his friends and families, teammates, the Rooneys and fans, why did he wear his hair like a clown? Why didn’t he try to look like a professional? Doesn’t he have a publicist or advisor? I really wondered if he was high on something heading into that press conference, or was he trying to make some kind of point by looking like that? I think your original blog post makes total sense now.

  • SportsFan3


    Believe it or not I don’t think Ben needs to be under the influence of anything to become a creep. It’s just one of his many talents.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      You may be right.

  • mfbinc

    i heard the madden comments. i wouldn’t say he ripped you. He just wondered if you opened yourself up for a lawsuit…..

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      Maybe ripped was the wrong word. I’ve talked to Mark about it.

  • oksteelerfan

    I was reading an article on AOL Fanhouse. I was wondering if you would know if something the article stated is true?

    During the regular season, when all NFL quarterbacks are required to make themselves available for interviews at least once a week, Roethlisberger stays away from the Steelers’ locker room like clockwork on his scheduled day of Wednesday until 11:42 a.m.

    The locker room closes to the media at 11:45 a.m.

    I don’t know if I can add links here or not but here it is. You can remove it if you want.


    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      I don’y know if he does it every week but he does his best to keep it as short as possible. It’s one of my favorite things about semi-reirtement, not having to go into locker rooms. I’ve seen more naked men than Madonna.

    • Rich

      Ok, here is an interview with Ben last year that was posted on another site. Ben talks a little bit about the media.


  • Rick

    Although I now live in the eastern part of the state, and have for some time, I get back to the Burgh fairly often. Often enough to know who Mark Madden is. I’m not at all surprised he would rip you. Seems he has an axe to grind with just about everyone. Isn’t he a guy who proclaims his fondness for all those juiced up wrestling freaks and spends much of his time in stripper bars? Didn’t he at one time live in the same apartment complex with Benny the QB? Let’s play connect the dots. Classy guy that Mark Madden.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      I like Mark.

  • Khalifa

    i feel bad for going off on u John..
    all these stories about Ben being a jackass…He just seems like an arrogant ass.. I never knew all these things about Ben.
    That being said John- would u trade him ?
    good qb’s are hard to find..Just ask us Steelers fans..
    Cliff the Stiff, Off the Mark Again Malone, David Woodley (RIP David), etc…

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      If I were interested in my image, he’d be gone yesterday.

      • Khalifa

        let me ask u this John ?
        do u think the Steelers are getting any serious offers ??
        it just seems in this day and age, everything gets leaked. U figure if he was going to get traded, it would be before the draft…
        Let’s Go Pens !!!!!

        • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

          I don’t know about serious offers but there has to be somebody out there who would bite. It’s would take a hell of a spin job by whoever gets him to explain why he would want such a creep on his team.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com Bobzilla

      You people act as though the Steelers were a downtrodden organization until it was saved by the beloved Big Ben.
      Hey, I’ve got news for ya’all: Roethlisberger needed the Steelers more than the Steelers needed Roethlisberger. How many Super Bowls rings do you suppose Big Ben would have had he been drafted by, say, Tampa Bay? Or by Buffalo? Or by Oakland?
      Roethlisberger should be thanking his lucky stars that the Steelers thought enough of him to draft him. As I recall, Bill Cowher wanted to draft Philip Rivers. Knowing what we now know, think that would’ve been such a horrible selection?
      Think Rivers might’ve been able to protect leads so the defense could win games, as was the case in 2008 and even early in 2009? Remember the Minnesota game last season? Steelers’ defense 14 points, Steelers’ offense 13, Vikings’ offense 10.
      Back to Rivers: I am pretty sure he’s had his fill of the Steelers’ defense, and would rather play with it than against it. How about this ’08 score: Steelers 11, Chargers 10.
      The Steelers were winning long before the arrival of Ben Roethlisberger. Is Ben a two-time Super Bowl champ? Absolutely. But so are James Farrior, Willie Parker, Max Starks, Hines Ward. And so is Troy Polamaula, who I believe to be the Steelers’ real difference-maker.
      Last preseason, Sports Illustrated conducted a poll among NFL players, who were asked to name the league’s most overrated player. Roethlisberger won.
      Go figure.

      • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

        Sorry ‘zilla. I don’t know of a quarterback who played better than he played in the three road playoff games in 2005. He was the reason they went to the Suoer Bowl in 2008 and the pass he threw to Holmes for the winning touchdown was better than the catch and it was a great catch. He is a great–not-good-great player. And a major league jackass.

        • http://justwatchthegame.com Bobzilla

          I’m a little shocked that most couldn’t care less how Super Bowls are won as long as they are won and that the quarterback gets all the credit.
          The reason the Steelers were involved in so many close games in ’08 was because the defense was backed by an offense that didn’t/couldn’t score early and often. In ’09, that trend continued, except for one small problem: The defense was nowhere near as good as it was in ’08. Pretty simple. No playoffs.
          There’s no question that Roethlisberger has had great moments, which you outlined in your above response. I just think that for a quarterback to be paid like his “elite,” he ought to put together some consistent “elite” stats. I don’t think expecting a $100 million QB to produce like he belongs among the top QBs in the league is expecting too much.
          Last season, Roethlisberger threw for 4,000 yards. Of the 10 quarterbacks who threw for 4,000 yards, Roethlisberger threw the fewest TD passes. Like Art Rooney II said a few weeks ago: Points mean more than yards.
          I’m just sayin.’

          • The Smoke

            Stats aren’t as important as winning, and Ben has won a whole lot of games. Yes, the defense has played a big part; but if you think the steelers would have won either SB without Ben then you are sadly mistaking. And he’s done it with a very bad OL and a below average running game.

            You can call the guy a jackass if you want to, but to say that he isn’t elite is absurd. If the Steelers were to release him there would be about 25 other teams scrambling to sign him despite his off field issues.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

            Off the field issues aside, i wouldn’t trade him straight up for any QB in the league. Too bad you can’t put the off the field stuff aside if you’ve invested 100 million in him and you have an image to protect. Or restore.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com Bobzilla

            As absurd as this sounds: he ain’t elite.
            Listen Smoke, I have no desire to get into a pissing contest over this, but I just don’t see what you see.
            My favorite “Roethlisberger comeback” was in 2008 against the Cowboys. DeShea Townsend returns an intereception for the game-winning TD, and Big Ben gets credited with yet another miracle come-from-behind win.
            In 2009, those comebacks were sparse, to say the least. How about this: If the media are going to keep track of when he does, I think they also should keep track of when he doesn’t? And I feel that way about AL quarterbacks, not just Ben.
            CBS put a stat on the screen last season during a Pariots game that said that Brady was like 82-1 when “HE was leading after three quarters.”
            I mean, since when does a QB have anything to do with protecting a lead in the fourth quarter? Wouldn’t that be the defense’s department?
            I just get tired of the quarterback hype. Football is the ultimate team sport. Honest.

      • r.s.


        Congrats Bobzilla! Wow, that is powerful stupid.

        • http://justwatchthegame.com Bobzilla

          Is there a prize for “dumbest post of the week”?
          r.s.: Are you saying I might be wrong?
          Or have you stooped to name calling because you think I might be right?
          Stop the hero worshiping.
          Leave that to KDKA-TV.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

            I have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • r.s.

            I’m saying I read your post and it is the most asinine pile of crap that I’ve ever read on this blog and that is really saying something.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com Bobzilla

            r.s.: Thanks for reading.

  • InTheMiddle

    To answer your question, yes it is completely still absurd to insinuate that he may have been high on drugs. There is zero evidence of that now or 10 years ago. There is evidence that he is a jackass. On that account, you are correct. The drug comment is what sent the site into a tizzy and yes, it is still completely ridiculous to write that today.

    Other than that, your opinions are pretty much spot on.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      I have never insinuated that he’s on drugs. I said that it should be considered as a possibility. Why wouldn’t it based on what we know was going on that night?

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      I never insinuated anything. I pointed out that it was possible that he could have been high on something other than alcohol. That’s not insinuating that he was–just not ruling it out. Based on what we now know, are you telling me that you don’t think the cops were asking around to see if anybody had been seen using drugs?

  • Ken

    Not outrageous at all. His situaion did kind of help you out with your blog. I just posted the below in an older thread. My thoughts on the situation and fandom in general. Copied it here just to see what others think…

    If nothing else, the whole Roethlisberger thing makes for some fun blogs and talk radio.

    I’m not a big Steeler fan and never was. Part of that is the over-the-top fan devotion that I just find just plain weird. It’s a game, it’s not life. If it’s a bright sunny beautiful day, I can’t see sitting on the couch watching a Steeler game or anything else on TV rather than going out and enjoying the nice day and actually living my own life. So many fans seem to link their whole lives and self worth to the success or failure of a football team. The over-the-top fandom has been kind of driving me away from professional sports.

    That being said, I have to say that in this case, I’m impressed with the Steelers fans. A large percentage of them seem to be genuinely disgusted with Roethlisberger’s actions, to the point where they really seem willing to accept a less successful team in the short term by getting rid of him. I wonder if they’d feel the same way after a 6-10 season, but for now, I’m impressed.

    I’ve always felt that the “Steeler way” or the “Rooney way” was a myth, but it’s good that the fans seem to want those myths to be reality.

    You do hear and read comments from some fans, the gist of which is, “He’s the Steeler quarterback. He’s won Super Bowls. He can f*** whoever he wants.” Kind of like the comment here from The Smoke: “SB Champion. Steelers QB. Case closed.” Sad. But makes for some amusing talk radio since people like this get trashed by the various talk hosts pretty quickly.

    One of the stupidest comments on “THE FAN” yesterday was a guy talking glowingly about Roethlisberger and “all he’s done for us.” For us? He’s done nothing for you. Nor has any other athlete. They do what they do for themselves. It’s their jobs and they’re paid a lot of money to do it. I don’t mean that in a negative way. Athletes are doing what they’re supposed to do. Sid doesn’t score goals thinking, “This one is for Jimmy.” That’s not to imply that they’re all bad people. Some of them seem like genuinely great guys, like Charlie Batch, Sid Crosby, etc. And some of them are Ben Roethlisberger. (Face it, most of those foundations, like Roethlisberger’s, are set up by their agents as tax shelters and PR machines.)

    I was a huge Pirates fans back when MLB made more sense. I always said that, even if they were winning, I could not root for the Bucs if they had a team like the mid-’80s Mets, who I found to be an incredibly unlikable collection of players (Gooden, Carter, Strawberry, Dykstra). I’d rather lose than win with the likes of Barry Bonds on my team. I think the Steelers should do their best to rid themselves of Roethlisberger and trade him. There’s other good quarterbacks, even if it means some lean seasons. He’d bring several high draft picks or good veteran players in return.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

      I was thinking about writing a post saying exactly what you said about Steelers fans. The title of the site and my book, “Just Watch The Game” can apply to a lot of my feelings about sports, including the over the top devotion that fans have toward the Steelers and, to a lesser degree, to the Penguins. I’ll get into it more in a future post. I do agree with you about the response. I’ve been impressed by the number of people who have been able to maintain a perspective.

      • William

        Ken, so you found the mid 80’s mets unlikable, but the Mid 80’s cocaine addicts (Pirates) were ok?

        Keep up with the stupidity.

        • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

          The mid-80s Pirates stunk.

        • Ken

          No I didn’t find the “mid-80s cocaine addicts” likable.

          But while they were using cocaine, whenever that was, it wasn’t public knowledge. After I found out about it, I was pretty pissed off. I never would have wanted Dave Parker back on the team, and I already did not like Dale Berra long before the allegations came out.

          How many Pirates were implicated in that whole mess anyway? Those are the only two that I can think of.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com JohnSteigerwald

            The Pirate Parrot was the supplier. His name was Kevin Koch (pronounced coke). Rod Scurry was on that team, too. I think it was pretty widespread. Koch, the last I heard, was in the witness protection program. I’m surprised somebody hasn’t done a big story about the 25th anniversary of the Pgh. coke trials. It was 1985.

    • oksteelerfan

      This is a very good post. I’ve always laughed at people who say “we” won, sorry you were not a teammate, not even the water boy.

      I have always been a sports fan. I’ve always enjoyed watching the game. Baseball got to the point where I didn’t enjoy it anymore and if I want to go watch a good game, I go down and watch the kids play.
      Football though has always been my favorite game. I’ve always enjoyed watching football. I’ve enjoyed being a Steelers fan. My family all are huge football fans. We’re all a family divided who have their own teams. In the 90’s though I said there was no way I could be a fan of the Cowboys and honestly didn’t understand how anyone could support a team of criminals, it turned me off football and I didn’t spend every Sunday watching games during that time. I had many people tell me if it was your team you’d feel differently. I told them no I would feel the same way. I would not support my team, I would not watch my team. How can you cheer for rapists and criminals?
      Sadly it is my team now, maybe not as many as was on that team, but in one big way even worse. The guy leading the team is the worst of the lot. So I feel the same way. I can’t support them and I can’t on Sundays cheer for a guy who I believe is scum. So I’d rather watch a team that struggles to win any games over a team with scum as their leader, regardless of how many Super Bowls he has won.

      But I fully agree people take their fandom over the top. Whenever the Steelers win or lose it doesn’t change my life. It’s a game, not life.