We’ve finally had a chance to watch, rewind, watch again, transcribe, watch again, re-read, and watch again the Thursday afternoon statement from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Here’s the video, and here’s what he said: “I did not sexually assault Andrea McNulty. Saturday was the first that I learned of her accusations. Her false and vicious allegations are [an] attack on my family and on me. I would never, ever force myself on a woman. I’m gonna fight to protect my family and my reputation. I’m not gonna discuss my private life or this civil case in the media. I’ll respond to her outrageous allegations in the appropriate forum. I have an obligation to our fans, to my teammates, to my coaches, and everyone in the organization to remain focused on the Pittsburgh Steelers. And I will do that. The allegations against me are reckless and false. As much as I’d like to answer everyone’s questions, I’m gonna respect the legal process. And I’m confident the truth will prevail.”
On paper, it sounds good. In large part because we’re certain it was written by lawyer David Cornwell. (As we once said regarding a statement issued on behalf of Pacman Jones, the chances that Ben wrote any of those words are roughly equivalent to the chances that he drafted one or more books of the Bible.)
Roethlisberger’s delivery likewise left something to be desired. Do you remember how many (including us) criticized Mike Vick over the mere possibility that he used notes while speaking “from the heart” after he pleaded guilty? Watch the video of Vick’s statement, and then watch Roethlisberger’s.
Of course, what we think doesn’t matter. The intended audience was the legion of Steelers fans throughout the country. Whether or not they’re swayed by the performance remains to be seen.
But there’s a chance that, someday, we’ll all look back on the video of Roethlisberger’s words with the same universal smirk that arises upon viewing the classic TV moment of which today’s appearance reminded us.