Monday October 10th, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump led off a rally in Pittsburgh on Monday by referencing Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

“Big Ben is a friend of mine,” Trump said. “We play golf together.”

Trump went on to tell a story about how Roethlisberger once “hit a golf shot that killed a tree.”

Trump is vying to become the first Republican nominee for president to win the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania since 1988. 

Trump's latest public appearance come just days after the leak of a 2005 video showing Trump making crude, predatory comments about women. Trump later dismissed his comments as “locker room talk.” 

Roethlisberger has previously been accused of sexual misconduct, including a 2008 case in which a woman accused the Steelers quarterback of raping her at a hotel in Lake Tahoe. Roethlisberger denied the allegations, and the case ended when both parties agreed to a settlement.

In 2010, Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault by a woman in a nightclub. He was not charged with any crime, as the district attorney could not prove guilt and the accuser said she did not want to press any charges.

In June, Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette that he will stay out of politics and did not confirm a claim made by Trump that he had Roethlisberger's support.

Athletes take issue with Trump’s 'locker room talk'

Trump is also friends with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. A "Make America Great Again" hat was spotted in Brady's locker in September 2015 but he later clarified that he was not backing Trump for president and he does not follow politics. 

"I don't even know what the issues are. I haven't paid attention to politics in a long time," Brady said last year. "It's actually not something that I really even enjoy. It's way off my radar."

An earlier version of this story stated that Roethlisberger denied Trump's golfing story about him, which he has not. That initial report has been retracted.

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