I know this because we, the sports fanatics of America, cheer for nearly everything. Back in the 1980s, we cheered for Spuds MacKenzie, the beer canine. We cheer for idiots who sprint naked across fields. We cheer for fireworks, even though they can't hear us, and we cheer for men and women dressed as large sausages, even though they are dressed as large sausages.
We cheer for
It's what we do. We cheer.
Yet this time ... well, perhaps this time we should think about the whole cheering thing.
Unless you just escaped from the Hagåtña Detention Facility, odds are you've heard that, over the past few years, the Pittsburgh quarterback has twice been accused of sexual assault -- one incident occurred in Lake Tahoe in 2008 and the other earlier this year in Milledgeville, Ga. Though criminal charges were never filed in either case, NFL commissioner
According to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football League and anyone with any sort of vested interest, Roethlisberger has used the past few months to (Cue: Air Supply's
He will be a new man, and by the time Roethlisberger hits
This is who we are.
This is a shame.
Alcoholism is a disease. Drug addiction is a disease. Taking advantage of women is not a disease. It is who a person is. What's in his makeup. What composes his core. You do not do what Roethlisberger is alleged to have done because you had a bad day, or a bad week, or a depressing injury, or too much to drink. You do it because you are a monster, and the monster somehow believes it is his right.
I'm not sure whether Goodell had any legal choice but to allow Roethlisberger to come back. But you, the fans, do have a choice whether to accept it.
Throughout the decades of watching and covering sports, I have seen too many villains return to inevitable ovations. In 1997, Falcons linebacker
But the reality is there are two sets of rules, one for athletes and celebrities and one for the rest of us. I have worked at approximately 15 places in my life, and I can't think of one (from CVS and Stanley Herz & Company to
In the real world, people with a reputation for assaulting women wind up unemployed and ostracized. They plead for future opportunities, but come to realize the impact of one punch... one kick was significantly greater than the impact of one punch... one kick.
But not in athletics, and certainly not in the NFL.
Ben Roethlisberger is destined to jog back onto the field as a savior and a hero, and before long nobody will remember what happened off the gridiron.
We'll all just cheer.