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Archive for the ‘Steelers’ Category

Coming out of the closet

I’m going to admit something that may or may not cause you to think I am a horrible human being.

I don’t hate The Ben.

I don’t. I also don’t think that he should be immediately traded or cut, and I would never in a million years be claim to be ashamed of The Steelers, or The Rooneys, or The Coach. I’m not using my Terrible Towels to wash the car. My number 7 jersey still hangs in my closet and there it will firmly remain.

Did he act like a stupid teenager? Definitely. Does he need to get his dumb ass together and never ever ever ever place himself in such a foolish position again? Definitely. The therapy that the Commish wants The Ben to get is an absolute must. But I think that a thoughtful response to Ben’s poor behavior requires consideration of a few points:

1. A critical reading of the facts of the Georgia case as published in several news outlets certainly reveals evidence of conduct unbecoming (at least), but it’s quite a bit less clear that they describe rape. Could that be what happened? Sure. But criminal cases aren’t based on what might have happened, and the documents released appear to tell the story of a young, extremely impaired woman who willingly got herself into a position that maybe she realized she didn’t really want to be in after all once she was there, and a big dumb guy who took advantage of said woman placing herself in that position and maybe didn’t pay as much attention to her decision-making process (such as it might have been, given her state of mind) as he should have. That the story told is of a violent sexual assault is a much harder sell.

Of course no means no, but whether we like it or not, date rape is not and never has been as cut and dried as all that. People make bad decisions, or no decisions, all the time, and if they come to their senses early enough the consequences of those decisions can often be averted – and if they aren’t, it’s pretty convincingly a date rape. But you can’t make a bad decision (or no decision), change your mind so late in the game that consequences are already upon you, and expect your new decision to have some sort of retroactive validity when you’re unhappy with said consequences. And we in the public, so quick to judge, don’t seem to have enough information to determine which of those scenarios might have been at play in that bathroom in Milledgeville, after an underage intoxicated woman accompanied Ben Roethlisberger into a bar bathroom but before she didn’t remember if they’d had sex or not.

2. The righteous indignation on display all around the Steeler Nation, evident in the PG poll I took this morning that so far shows fans supporting trading The Ben nearly two to one, seems mildly disingenuous considering that we as a society persistently tolerate this scenario in fraternity houses and dorms in every university every weekend and just call it “boys being boys” or kids “experimenting.” But as soon as it happens with a professional football player, he should be fired, and fast.

Glass houses and stones and all that, folks.

3. The prior allegation, from Vegas chick who boasted to her girlfriends about bagging The Ben for months before deciding to sue him and her employer for it, is clearly bogus and I think we can all examine it on its own merits and agree to that. So may we stop talking about how this is a “pattern?” Okay, thanks.

4. I wasn’t crazy about the inexplicable example-making of Santonio Holmes either (a single fifth-round draft pick for a Super Bowl MVP is, like, the definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face), but I can also see that his situation is different. He has a true pattern (see number 3 above) of unrepentant thuggery, drug abuse, and general grossness that repeatedly resulted in criminal investigations. Starting the month after we drafted him. So yeah, probably a little different, but still not my favorite football business decision ever. Winning isn’t everything, but it is something – as the Pirates have been trying to teach us.

There remains the simple fact that we pay football players to play football, not to be Brownie scouts. And the current Steeler team does what we pay them to do very well. As a matter of fact, they win Super Bowls for us. It is a bonus that some of them are in fact Brownie scouts (The Troy leaps to mind), but most of them are football players, and the last time I checked, football players are people like all the imperfect rest of us.

So I, for one, will not be glad if we wake up tomorrow and find our imperfect quarterback no longer a Steeler. That’s not the Pittsburgh I know – giving up on our kids when we’re disappointed in them.

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From TMZ.com

From TMZ.com

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Pittcetera

1. I don’t want to point out anything about how the Buccos are playing to start the season. I don’t want to add links to statistics or analyses. I just want to knock on wood and cross my fingers, toes, arms, legs, and eyes.

2. Is anyone else puzzled by the constant profiles of the guy who gunned down three police officers? Who is really that interested in what he thinks, where he grew up, and how he votes? Recent coverage of the shooter and his family, in the PG alone:

Believe me, I understand the desire to analyze and understand what makes a person do awful things. I watch shows about serial killers on A&E too (or at least I did when I had a house with cable in it). But how much real-time celebrity do we want to grant this guy, people?

Crazy guy, crazy family, horrible outcome. The end.

3. Why, Byron, why? No, you weren’t about to be our starting QB, but you were a helluva backup who got a lot of respect for what you did. And you got a lot of playing time for a backup dude, thanks to The Ben’s frequent dates with the injury cart.

Hope it works out for ya down in sunny Tampa. I’ll be keeping your “The.”

4. Entertainment Weekly likes Adventureland too. Plenty of people out there on the internet don’t, but whatever.

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Dorothee Trois-Rivières. Motto: Trying out restaurants so you don’t have to.

We kept seeing signs advertising Emiliano’s in McIntyre Square in McCandless, and we figured that now was as good a time as any to be disappointed with Mexican food in Pittsburgh. That’s definitely one area in which Texas has us beat, and if you’re ever traveling to Austin I strongly advise you against eating a lot of Tex-Mex because it will totally ruin Mad Mex for you forever. 

Anyway, we went to Emiliano’s, and I can honestly say that it was the best Mexican food I’ve had in Pennsylvania. Really, it was pretty good, except the salsa which tasted like marinara with cilantro. I did find chunks of potato in my Spanish rice and I couldn’t figure out if they were supposed to be there or not. In Oz-tin, I could feel pretty certain that they got in there by mistake, but this is Pittsburgh, potatoes belong in everything! They actually had a vegetarian flauta on the menu that was filled with seasoned potatoes – like a Mexican pierogi.

Last night for dinner, we finally ate at The Bus’s sports bar (Grille 36) on the North Shore, and if I weren’t pretty sure that you’ve already tried it and discovered the same thing we did, I’d recommend against it. Man, I do not want to have to say this, but Jerome, this place is a huge disappointment. Awful, slow, inattentive service; just marginal food (I think the fries are frozen and I have no doubts that the entrees marked as “Jerome’s favorites” are nothing of the sort); and a strange discordant loudness due to adult contemporary music playing loudly in the dining room, rock music playing very audibly from the bar, and TVs with the volume up running various sporting events.

Some good points about the place: the fact that it was showing the heated lacrosse matchup between Johns Hopkins and Princeton at the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium which made us laugh to no end about Ivy Leaguers tossing a ball around on the same turf where we dismantled the Ravens (we’d had beer), the view:

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and the quote of the day, uttered by Mr. TR who is insightful and to-the-point.

“If The Ben hadn’t made that tackle after The Bus fumbled, this place probably wouldn’t exist.”

Uh, thanks for the lame dining experience, Ben.

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book-jacket-front

Jim Wexell is a freelance writer who has covered the Steelers for ages, and now publishes SteelCityInsider.com. And he’s had an experience that inspires one specific emotion in Steeler fans.

Envy.

Deep, profound, unadulterated envy for Wex’s journey across the country for the Steelers’ entire road schedule in 2007, going to Steeler bars all over America, tailgating, attending games, and hanging out with the ultimate Steelers insiders – the players’ friends and family.

Lucky bastard.

Wex documents his odyssey in the book Steeler Nation, a fantasy travelogue that the rest of us can only daydream about. It’s eye-opening for ex-pats to see how very many of us there are out here, and how we find each other and come together everywhere. And it’s exceptionally engaging for the diaspora in that it meets us where we are, highlighting how much of our Pittsburgh identity we carry to wherever we land. And it also acknowledges the many ways that Steeler fans can be made instead of born – so many people grew to love what the Steelers have represented over the years, no matter where they are.

But the book is for all fans, in and out of Pittsburgh, because of the unbelievable fantasy-camp quality of Wex’s journey. For one thing, he gets to go to Hawaii – the ultimate dead-of-winter daydream for Pittsburghers. But more than that, he meets the families and friends of The Troy, The Harrison, The Ben, The Hamp, The Hines, and many more of our current icons. His interviews turn those larger-than-life personalities into people like us, with high school buddies and childhood mischief and triumphs and tragedies and heartache.

Some of the boys had golden childhoods full of love and fun and some had more pain and struggle than any child deserves. Either way, the book opens a window into the real lives of the men we so enthusiastically cheer on, and begins to make  some sense of the personalities that we see peeking through on the field. And at least for me, it makes it harder to judge them when they act stupid or do wrong. I think it’s pretty healthy to be reminded that under every persona, there’s a person, just trying to do the best he can with the tools he’s been given.

All in all, it’s a dream trip with a good message that the whole Steeler Nation can appreciate. Plus, Hawaii!

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My dog, The Bug, snuggled up under his Terrible Towel.

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He dreamed of The Troy.

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Eight years ago today:

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