We realize that the American justice system compels a presumption of innocence. The American public, however, has no such mandate; we can come to our own opinions and conclusions about anything we choose, as ridiculous as those opinions and conclusions may be.
And so on one hand we respect the judicial mindset that prefers setting ten guilty men free to incarcerating a single innocent. On the other hand, we realize that the court of public opinion is close to rendering judgment about Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
At a minimum, he’s a damn fool for allowing himself to be placed in a circumstance that could lead to the making of false charges, especially in light of his other pending legal predicament in Nevada. At worst, he has the same “entitlement” mentality that supposedly prompted a certain Tiger’s tomcat streak.
The possible difference, of course, is that Eldrick Woods always respected the concept of consent.
It still remains to be seen whether Roethlisberger will be charged in Georgia, where perhaps appropriately he wore a shirt bearing the image of a horned devil (via TMZ). Regardless, the question of whether Roethlisberger is a good guy or a bad guy churns through the national consciousness, and the signs are pointing toward an eventual verdict of “turd.”
Consider this quote from Ashley Madden, a Georgia College & State University student who witnessed Roethlisberger act like a jerk when someone tried to take his picture on the night that the lights allegedly went out in Milledgeville. “[H]e snapped at her,” Madden told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “saying, ‘Don’t take a picture unless I’m ready.”
We’re heard chatter of Roethlisberger directing that same attitude toward persons in various contexts, and people of goodwill and pure heart simply don’t treat others that way.
So while he might never face criminal jeopardy for sexual assault or anything else, Roethlisberger’s reputation is dangerously close to imploding in every city but one. If he ever loses the people in Pittsburgh who have come to blindly adore him, it might be time to call it quits and settle down in a small town in a state other than Georgia.