By Gregory Moore
If you’re African American, the issues that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Rothlisberger is facing now may be kind of a welcome relief to you.
Now don’t take that the wrong way but the reality is that many in this country have always felt that black athletes never had any common sense or home training and that they acted as if they were entitled to anything and everything just because they were rich and famous.
Half of that synopsis is correct and the other is pure nonsense.
When it comes to an athlete thinking he’s entitled, yes you can definitely say that’s a true statement but putting it on one ethnicity is definitely wrong and demeaning to the thousands of that group who are doing it right.
It may even be mis-categorizing professional athletes in this statement of ‘all of them think they are entitled’ because clearly that is not the case either.
But there are enough of them to raise suspicion and Big Ben is now become the poster child for what is wrong with so many athletes in pro leagues across the globe.
For you see, for guys like him, entitlement is their society black card; recklessness is their badge of honor.
If you think Big Ben is being singled out because he is high profile; you’re off base on that assessment.
Every professional athlete is high profile. It is just how our society operates.
Granted when an athlete gets in trouble you can make a safe assumption that the athlete may be Black and in most cases you’re correct but you can also say that when that does happen, those cases usually involve drugs or weapons. That’s not to say that allegations of sexual misconduct aren’t prevalent in that group because it is. But rarely are we talking about something as serious as Rothlisberger’s two incidents.
Think about it for a minute.
Santonio Holmes, who was a teammate of Big Ben, was accused of throwing a glass in a woman’s face and now there is evidence that it was another man and that there are witnesses that corroborate those facts.
Let’s go to the Warren Sapp incident during the Super Bowl.
Arrested for assault, Sapp lost his NFL Network gig and then a couple of weeks later the Miami Dade DA doesn’t file charges because there is evidence that the woman made the story up? Hmmm.
Let’s go to Michael Irvin, who had a similar case although this victim said it happened in 2007.
Same thing happens to him with a media outlet cutting him loose and later on we find out that there is no such evidence of such an allegation.
The only reason why I cannot say that a 20-year-old woman is targeting Rothlisberger is because there is way too much documentation saying that he acted like a complete jackass. By that I mean instead of him being the model citizen in a public place where he was personable and the like, he was most likely drunk, horny and figured he could do whatever he wanted to an underage college student (by underage I mean in drinking age).
What man gets a woman so intoxicated that she’s all but lucid on her feet?
Some may term him a sexual predator and you know what, they wouldn’t be to far off base because that is exactly how he is acting at that point and time.
But Big Ben isn’t the only white athlete that does this sort of behavior and black athletes aren’t the only ones who normally do it.
It is quite safe to say that there are those athletes who exhort this type of behavior long before they turn pro and it probably started back in high school.
The seed of this boorish behavior is the seed of entitlement and you know whose the blame for these actions?
We are. As in ‘we’ meaning society.
Can I put a racial connotation to this action?
No I can’t because it is not just this group of athletes from an ethnic make up doing this action or that one. It’s a mixture of mixed up individuals who didn’t pay attention to the good manners classes during the rookie symposium.
Look I get it that these guys need to let off some steam or that they need to live some sort of a normal life.
The problem is that when you are walking around with a bank account that could resemble the gross national product of some small third world countries; a normal life does not exist.
Yet that doesn’t mean that the individual cannot act like a normal person.
Why go to a club looking for sex when you have it thrown at you at the local IGA or Tom Thumb?
Why go out and get sloshed when you can have your own bar in your mansion?
And if you want to go out in public, what is wrong with just acting normal and really being on top of your game and showing the world that professional athletes are not the boorish, sex craved egomaniacs that media portrays them out to be?
Because for some guys, doing what was just listed above means they have to live a life with structure and that’s just not them.
But it needs to be exactly that and then some.
This armor of entitlement that so many of these guys have needs to be stripped away from them so that a normal human being can reside within them.
This ‘entitlement’ trait that so many of these guys have is exactly why they are being traded or having a GA district attorney telling them to grow up.
The truth is that we all have growing up to do on a daily basis but for a professional athlete, they are the standard bearer of all standard bearers in society right now.
They are the high profile celebrities that everyone knows outside of the music/film/television entertainers. So they are the guys who need to show the world that having a good time means that everyone has a good time and everyone gets home safely.
Big Ben’s issues aren’t unique because they have always been a part of the professional athlete scene.
However society needs to realize that these issues are not new to mainstream society either.
It just so happens that finally somebody society has put up on the “clean and wholesome” mantle came crashing down and they’re shocked.
For some of us in the Black community this isn’t a surprise. We’ve been dealing with this entitlement issues for decades.
The issue has always been there now it is time for those of us in society to realize that there is a problem and we need to fix it before the next generation of professional athletes go out there and do something really crazy.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Read Tommy Ross’ bleacherreport.com column, “Is Ben Rothlisberger Indeed a Rapist? Crime Or Coincidence”. A very good read on the issue of the troubles of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ signal caller. — GM