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Steelers 2006 shooting party spawns federal lawsuit

Last August, photos emerged of a gun-shooting party at a state police facility in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, during which at least 14 members of the Steelers used ammo provided by authorities and illegal assault weapons from the evidence room.

The photos showed players posing with various weapons.

Said one unnamed official at the time:  “It’s a state police firing range used for state police to train.  When
we’re there, it’s downright military.  But at this event, it’s chaos. 
Everybody’s
throwing contraband assault weapons around like they’re toys; it’s like
they’re having G.I. Joe tryouts.  Not only is this totally unethical,
but it’s totally illegal.”

The incident spawned a federal lawsuit from the employee who blew the whistle on the situation, claiming that it raised serious safety problems.  The process has revealed that, amazingly, the state police entrusted the internal investigation to the man who organized the shooting party.

And so it’s no surprise that Major Frank Monaco concluded that the event broke no rules, and that the controversy was “much ado about nothing.”

“They shot with personally owned weapons with the troopers.  Not state
weapons.  Not state ammunition,” Monaco said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

But the incident occurred while the Steelers were at training camp, a place to which firearms routinely aren’t brought.  “I was given a shotgun. It wasn’t mine. It wasn’t my ammunition,”
Steelers tackle Max Starks told the Tribune-Review.

And in a strange twist, the commissioner of the state police at the time now works for the NFL, as a security official.  NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Tribune-Review that Jeff Miller had “no knowledge of the firing range incident until roughly two years after
it occurred.”

Though the Steelers players face no charges or discipline from the league, it’s another example of the separate set of rules that apply to athletes and celebrities.

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48 Responses to “Steelers 2006 shooting party spawns federal lawsuit”
  1. The Real Shuxion says: Jun 15, 2010 9:04 AM

    it’s like they’re having G.I. Joe tryouts. Not only is this totally unethical, but it’s totally illegal.”
    ——————————————————
    Joining G.I. Joe is unethical in its own right.
    Hail Cobra!!!
    -Cobra Commander

  2. Opie says: Jun 15, 2010 9:06 AM

    @ Florio says, “Though the Steelers players face no charges or discipline from the league, it’s another example of the separate set of rules that apply to athletes and celebrities.”
    ________________________________
    Nice sleuthing Sherlock. I’m sure there are a different set of rules for some of the “staff” at PFT.
    To assert that it only happens for athletes and celebrities is ignorant. It happens everywhere and is practiced by everyone.

  3. Rookie Film says: Jun 15, 2010 9:07 AM

    Somebody should have shot Roethlisberger in the head and saved the entire organization a lot of heartache.

  4. ADogDC says: Jun 15, 2010 9:08 AM

    MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING!
    Florio must have had a boring childhood. And if he didn’t, he better be glad there wasn’t a Florio reporting on his misbehaviors, because he would have never been a lawyer nor a NFL Blogger ‘Insider’…..

  5. Rookie Film says: Jun 15, 2010 9:08 AM

    (I don’t really mean that, but seriously – a SHOOTING PARTY!?)

  6. snnyjcbs says: Jun 15, 2010 9:12 AM

    You people kill me, who cares that they were allowed to shot at a shooting range with the police. Whats next making sure that they do not cross the street against the Do Not Walk Sign.

  7. TheDPR says: Jun 15, 2010 9:13 AM

    “Though the Steelers players face no charges or discipline from the league, it’s another example of the separate set of rules that apply to athletes and celebrities.”
    Especially when it’s the Steelers.
    You think Jags, Dolphins, or Browns players would have been given the same kind of slack?

  8. TommyBoy123 says: Jun 15, 2010 9:14 AM

    it’s another example of the separate set of rules that apply to athletes and celebrities…
    and to the STEELERS
    obviously, there are some serious double standards in the NFL

  9. Ravens Fan says: Jun 15, 2010 9:15 AM

    What is wrong with the Squeelers? First wife beaters, then rapists, now illegal weapons use. It’s official the Squeelers are now the worst organization in the NFL. I always knew Squeeler players were scumbags, this just solidifies it. Congrats Squeeler fans, your football team is a disgrace.

  10. Chapnasty2 says: Jun 15, 2010 9:17 AM

    Thank you Florio for providing more evidence on the criminality of this organization. I hope to god people will stop talking about how well they run their organization when the truth would prove they do not have a hold on anything. Can’t wait to see the excuses posed by Steeler fans for this one.
    *Do we know where the female employees were at the time of the incident?”

  11. radioboy20010 says: Jun 15, 2010 9:20 AM

    Lets see…
    1)Federal lawsuit
    2)Possible illegal activity by state police
    No, no story there….if that ISN’T a story, what is?
    It’s one thing to have blinders on for your favorite team. But couple this with Ben’s behavior and a couple other incidents and you begin to wonder about the Steelers.
    I’m a Packers fan, but the off-season behavior of a couple of our “heroes” makes you wonder what is going on.
    Young men, always told they are great, given lots of money and free time leads to all the crap that’s been going on during the off-season.

  12. vanhelsing says: Jun 15, 2010 9:20 AM

    well yes but…
    the main reason liberals’ panties are in a knot over this is because they shot guns.

  13. Stillerz says: Jun 15, 2010 9:23 AM

    Re-using 4 year old stories now to generate page hits, huh?

  14. ItalianArmyGvy says: Jun 15, 2010 9:25 AM

    But Bill Belicheat is a cheater, we need to bring the hammer down on them, nothing to see here. If it were the Pats, they should be hanged, but this is the Steelers, we cant penalize them…..call me Girthlessboner, I’m lubed for you

  15. theroc5156 says: Jun 15, 2010 9:32 AM

    I don’t put blame on the Steeler players (and I’m a Bengals fan) I put blame on Monaco and the law enforcement who were probably big Steeler fans and were doing a bit of jock-sniffing.
    I wonder how many speeding tickets/DWI’s the Steelers have gotten away with in the Pittsburgh area?
    Monaco should lose his job.

  16. Chapnasty2 says: Jun 15, 2010 9:32 AM

    @ stillerz
    You are a genius… the event took place in 2006, the lawsuit is new making it news…

  17. myeaglescantwin says: Jun 15, 2010 9:38 AM

    that GI joe movie was friggin terrible.
    these guys protect the public & put thier lives on the line daily…. let them have fun
    + this whistle blower is probably some nerd that never did anything athletic ever.
    non-issue

  18. icheavy says: Jun 15, 2010 9:45 AM

    You people really are morons! I get that you are all upset that the Steelers have more Super Bowl wins than any of your teams, but let’s face it the Steelers are just a better team than all of your teams. No needs to reply to fight with me because I don’t care about your opinions on that subject as it does not matter as the Steelers have 6 SB wins, more than any other team.
    As for the shooting incident you should all look a little more closely at the article. Again your Steeler jealousy shows through when you are blaming the organization for something they had nothing to do with, or sponsored, or condoned. Some in the State Police wanted to be friends with famous athletes so they went ahead and broke the laws that govern themselves. The players had nothing to do with the decisions to take weapons and ammunition out of the chain of custody and bring them to a firing range to show off for athletes. If any of you were invited to do the same thing you would not have hesitated. Every little boy wants to fire an automatic weapon. So stop the irrational hating of the Steelers organization over things that are outside of their control. Sure be upset that they did nothing about Ben’s behavior, or extended the contract of a guy accused (not convicted, or charged) of domestic violence, but don’t blame the organization every time a Steeler(s) name arises in a news story. I mean seriously where is all of the hate for Bud Adams and the Titans now that VY has gotten himself into trouble again?

  19. HamBurghlar says: Jun 15, 2010 9:47 AM

    Steelers articles = high post numbers! Just the best and most envied franchise in the NFL.. Haters come from miles around to post their BS, just good to know you’re thinking about us…. heh.

  20. ItalianArnyGuy says: Jun 15, 2010 9:58 AM

    This is the Pittsburgh Frickin’ Steelers……..when will they understand what that means? We do what we want. We rape & shoot, but at least we don’t cheat like Belichick.

  21. ItalianArmyGuy says: Jun 15, 2010 10:03 AM

    That old double-standard, eh Florio? LOL
    I’ll posit the question again from earlier posters – if this is the Jaguars or the Bills, do you even run the story? The double-standard you are always talking about seems to point directly at you, and the fact that you prefer to report on the guys and teams with the biggest celebrity status
    Once again – where are all the dozens of breathless Eric Foster sexual assault stories?? Why aren’t we all being bombarded with stories about this faceless Colts D-lineman who allegedly assaulted a woman in his hotel room just prior to the AFC title game??

  22. Holeinone09 says: Jun 15, 2010 10:06 AM

    @Rookie Film says:
    June 15, 2010 9:07 AM
    Somebody should have shot Roethlisberger in the head and saved the entire organization a lot of heartache.
    * * * * * *
    Dude, all kidding aside, when something terrible happens to you or someone in your family, I hope you remember your stupid post from today. You should be proud of yourself for making such a comment. You are a real piece of work.

  23. jamaltimore says: Jun 15, 2010 10:21 AM

    Hmm, the head of the PA state police now works for the league? The PA state police provide protection to Rapistburger on his trips to rape underage girls? Hmm, the majority of callls seem to go to the steelers and the owner of the steelers is given a ambassadorship by obama after he somehow wins the State of PA? Plus the rooney family’s involvement with Organized Gambling, bootlegging forever and it’s not hard to believe that steelers games are FIXED.

  24. sniperhare says: Jun 15, 2010 10:31 AM

    No one got shot, who cares.

  25. steelersmichele says: Jun 15, 2010 10:31 AM

    Ravens Fan–you don’t want to go there. I think your team just signed a man who admitted to driving drunk and killing a man (along with forgiving and naming a street after #52 who was charged and admitted to obstructing justice years back). And how about Fein, the other Lewis, Fuller and even Sapp.
    All teams have bad players. And those bad players have money and usually get off or get a reduced penalty. Sad, but it’s true.
    If you broke into a donut shop, I guarantee you’d be in jail (and so would I).
    Chapnasty2–I love how much you love talking about the Steelers organization. Every post you seem to bring up the black and gold. Please keep it up. Puts a smile on my face.

  26. Chapnasty2 says: Jun 15, 2010 10:37 AM

    @ Italianarmyguy
    Look when the Chiefs or Jags matter then we can expect to see posts on them. There is a reason why the Steelers get posted about the most, because they matter. Just wait until the blackout stories start coming and you, and I for that matter, will be complaining about how we have to hear about how the Jags have yet another blackout week after week.
    No one cares about Eric Foster, hell I don’t even know who he is and no one cares about some random player assaulting a girl before the AFC title game. It doesn’t mean the seriousness of the crime is any less, it just means that no one cares.

  27. This is not news says: Jun 15, 2010 10:42 AM

    I don’t see how this is in any way the players fault. I am sure the cops got plenty of autographs.

  28. HC says: Jun 15, 2010 10:44 AM

    ItalianArmyGuy says:
    Once again – where are all the dozens of breathless Eric Foster sexual assault stories?? Why aren’t we all being bombarded with stories about this faceless Colts D-lineman who allegedly assaulted a woman in his hotel room just prior to the AFC title game??
    = = = = = = = = = = =
    You answered your own question. The reason the Roethlisberger case made bigger headlines and more stories, both here and everywhere else than the Foster case is because Foster is ‘faceless’ as you put it, while Ben is one of the poster boys for the NFL in terms of how they market their product and their game. No different than if the mayor of Pittsburgh got caught doing something it would make headlines, but some low-level clerk in the same building does the same thing (or worse) you’d never hear of it.
    It’s not the crime that makes one more newsworthy than the other, it’s the name attached to it that makes it newsworthy.
    There’s no conspiracy to make the Steelers look bad or Colts look good. If it was Peyton Manning rather than Ben Roethlisberger, and Ryan Mundy rather than Eric Foster, do you really believe all the media attention would have been on Mundy but not Manning? Come on, you aren’t that paranoid are you?

  29. joetoronto says: Jun 15, 2010 10:46 AM

    At least no one went Dick Cheney on anyone.

  30. Rookie Film says: Jun 15, 2010 10:51 AM

    Holeinone09 says: June 15, 2010 10:06 AM
    ************
    Dude, all kidding aside, when something terrible happens to you or someone in your family, I hope you remember your stupid post from today. You should be proud of yourself for making such a comment. You are a real piece of work.
    *************
    Yeah, good call – if my family ever endures a tragedy of any kind, the first thing that I will think about will be a post I wrote on a football rumor site.
    How about this – next time “Big Ben” rapes someone or gets in a bar fight or crashes his motorcycle or demands special treatment or demeans a kind hearted soul, I’ll think about how he no longer deserves his significant notoriety, pedestal, or freedom to make bad choices.

  31. steelersmichele says: Jun 15, 2010 10:52 AM

    jamaltimore–
    Yes the games are fixed. The Rooneys actually use their bootlegging money to pay the officials so we can win games–that’s exactly how we got to the playoffs last year. The Rooneys also paid to get Obama elected to get the ambassadorship to Ireland because we all know the Irish drink a lot and we’re going to ship that alcohol to PA to get out of paying the state liquor fee (although it’s hard to run organized gambling and pay off state police and league officials from across the ocean, but the Rooneys do it). And before the season starts, Obama is going to make a special call (on behalf of the Rooneys or course) to Goodell and ask him to overturn Ben’s suspension completely. And believe it or not, we’re paying BP not to fix the oil leak.
    I feel so much better after telling the truth. jamaltimore, do you feel better after hearing the truth?

  32. spartyfi says: Jun 15, 2010 10:53 AM

    HAHAHA:
    “What is wrong with the Squeelers? First wife beaters, then rapists, now illegal weapons use. It’s official the Squeelers are now the worst organization in the NFL. I always knew Squeeler players were scumbags, this just solidifies it. Congrats Squeeler fans, your football team is a disgrace.”
    I laugh because this is written by a Ravens fan….dude, you have murderers on your team….seriously, you shouldn’t throw stones from a glass house. Your organization is the epitome of classless. My team may not be any good but they don’t have all the issues or criminals your teams do…must be a division thing! Seriously, I think your division has more criminals than the rest of the NFL combined…hell, probably more than most prisons!
    Go Lions!

  33. Chapnasty2 says: Jun 15, 2010 10:55 AM

    @ Michele
    Good morning sweetheart, I hope you are having a good start to your day. You are right, I literally enjoy talking about the Steelers when they break the law. It is without a doubt the greatest thing I enjoy when it comes to discussing football with friends. I know several Steeler fans and all of them are dillusional as well. No matter what happens or what laws they break or are accused of breaking, or how many wives get beat up, or how many young children are attacked by pitbulls, or how many are found guilty of somking pot, their fans still claim they are the best run organization in sports.
    At least as a Cowboys fan I can admit my owner is a money hungry idiot and head coach is a giant wimp and my QB should’t be playing golf etc, etc.

  34. steelersmichele says: Jun 15, 2010 11:07 AM

    Chapnasty2. Thank you. In all seriousness, I appreciate your explanation as to why there are so many posts about the Steelers. I never thought about it that way. Although, I would like to back to “no news is good news.”

  35. rusH1023 says: Jun 15, 2010 11:13 AM

    Even though I’d love to throw ItalianArmyGuy in a pit of James Harrison’s pitbulls for his idiocy, this story is nothing.
    Who cares? No one’s hurt (check the bathroom stalls for Ben’s blood and semen?), hopefully.
    Yes, I’m a Pat’s fan. Moving on.

  36. Citizen Strange says: Jun 15, 2010 11:27 AM

    Once again …. When it comes to sleaze and corruption cops are second only to Catholic priests.

  37. stnmmc says: Jun 15, 2010 11:55 AM

    Jamaltimore and the rest of you chumps who really believe the league fixes games for the Steeler’s, why do you continue to follow and love the NFL so much. Personally I would not stand for a sport that is as corrupt as you claim. Luckily, I have never been fitted for a tin foil hat, so I am not victim of the same psychosis you are and am able to enjoy the NFL experience.

  38. stnmmc says: Jun 15, 2010 12:14 PM

    # Citizen Strange says: June 15, 2010 11:27 AM
    Once again …. When it comes to sleaze and corruption cops are second only to Catholic priests.
    ———————
    My favorite post in months.

  39. DBL says: Jun 15, 2010 12:39 PM

    I hope this sleaze bag Frank Monaco get what he deserves…
    He must think he is above the law.
    The story isn’t about the Steelers doing anything right or wrong, its about this corrupt commander Maj. Frank Monaco being a scumbag and using the taxpayers money as a luxury to his own will… I wonder if he is into forging signatures also…?
    This story is just tied to a particular NFL team.
    I don’t think the Steelers knew it wasn’t um, “legal”.

  40. Deb says: Jun 15, 2010 1:28 PM

    The Steelers, then reigning Super Bowl champions, were brandishing contraband assault weapons. Not cool–especially in light of all the other shooting and “thuggery” incidents in the league. Considering that they weren’t trained in weapons use, it’s a blessing no one was hurt.
    I’m not arguing against anyone’s Constitutional right to bear arms. But that ’06 incident should have been another RED FLAG for the NFL to address gun issues as a whole instead of treating them as individual incidents. The league should set standards for how players, their security people, and teams–including mine–present themselves to the public. I’m tired of reading about an NFL player being involved in a shooting every other week. I do not want the children in my family thinking a football uniform comes with an ammo belt and assault rifle.

  41. Ravens Fan says: Jun 15, 2010 2:04 PM

    @steelersmichele says
    Oh I will go there. Your Squeerlers are the biggest bunch of bullsh*t artists out there. You talk about the cRoonies and they don’t tolerate bad people. They don’t tolerate bad people when they suck, like Cedric Wilson, but Harrison and Rothlishomo, they’ll look the other way. Please spare me any sacrimonious bullsh*t. I guess I’m talking to one of the cRoonies, because you defend scumbags on your team if they are good.

  42. badthings says: Jun 15, 2010 2:31 PM

    Although it sounds like the “State Police” may have some issues, I can’t blame the Steeler players. Hell if some cops offered to let me target shoot some high powered assault rifles I would have said yes too.

  43. steelersmichele says: Jun 15, 2010 5:13 PM

    I hate when work takes me away from PFT for hours.
    Chapnasty2, I’m not dillusional. I just love my team. I love talking about them, supporting them, and defending them (when appropriate). Even if your don’t like the things your owner and QB do, you should love ‘em anyways. You’ve got 5 rings–you have room to brag! it’s no fun being objective.
    I do think the Rooney’s are pretty good owners. They are sometimes more old-fashioned, which I like. With that said, they do understand that football is a business and the goal is to make money. I GUARANTEE that if other teams had a franchise QB like Ben and the same thing happened, the team would not get rid of him. You can get rid of a receiver but not a franchise QB. They made a pure business decision.
    I am not dillusional when it comes to Ben. I don’t like what he did and as a person, he’s bad news. As a QB, he’s good. I have to seperate the two.
    Jeff Reed is another idiot, but it’s hard finding a good kicker, so we keep him.
    We have many other players with questional behavior, but when it comes down to it, if they can play, they can stay. That’s the motto of many other teams. As long as you’re good, owners and coaches will overlook behavior. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s what happens.
    Ravens Fan…You don’t live in Baltimore…how do I know? Because Baltimore is “the city that reads,” and you obviously don’t know how to read. I never defended the Rooneys and said they were the best owners. I simply stated that all teams have bad players, including yours.
    Funny you disrespect my team’s owners when you’ve had two bad ones. Didn’t the Colts owner quietly moved your team in the dead of night and then your second owner steal the team from Cleveland?

  44. Deb says: Jun 15, 2010 6:24 PM

    steelersmichele says:
    I hate when work takes me away from PFT for hours.
    ————————————————
    ROFL
    It’s like talking economics to kindergartners.
    Holmes: multiple arrests, substance abuse issues. Admitted drug use on public forum. Contract to expire in 2010, no plans to re-sign.
    Rothlisberger: no arrests or disciplinary issues. Pending civil suit where evidence favors defense. Unsubstantiated criminal accusation. No charges. Franchise QB under long-term contract.
    Fortune 500 company. Parking attendant gets drunk on the job. CFO responsible for saving the company millions gets drunk on the job. What would the company will do? Fire the parking attendant and send the “franchise” CFO to rehab. That’s what ANY company would do.
    Reed’s an odd one, but as long as he can kick accurately in the wild winds of Heinz Field, I don’t care how many towel dispensers he assaults.

  45. DM says: Jun 17, 2010 9:52 AM

    ItalianArmyGuy says: Once again – where are all the dozens of breathless Eric Foster sexual assault stories?? Why aren’t we all being bombarded with stories about this faceless Colts D-lineman who allegedly assaulted a woman in his hotel room just prior to the AFC title game?? = = = = = = = = = = = You answered your own question. The reason the Roethlisberger case made bigger headlines and more stories, both here and everywhere else than the Foster case is because Foster is ‘faceless’ as you put it, while Ben is one of the poster boys for the NFL in terms of how they market their product and their game. No different than if the mayor of Pittsburgh got caught doing something it would make headlines, but some low-level clerk in the same building does the same thing (or worse) you’d never hear of it. It’s not the crime that makes one more newsworthy than the other, it’s the name attached to it that makes it newsworthy. There’s no conspiracy to make the Steelers look bad or Colts look good. If it was Peyton Manning rather than Ben Roethlisberger, and Ryan Mundy rather than Eric Foster, do you really believe all the media attention would have been on Mundy but not Manning? Come on, you aren’t that paranoid are you?
    ————————————————-
    Huh – not true. Ben’s first accusation made a stir and then went away – just like Foster’s.
    It was Ben’s second (and some say third) accusations that have amped the attention.
    Rooting for your team is fine but at least be honest with yourself.

  46. DM says: Jun 17, 2010 9:57 AM

    @steelermichelle
    “but when it comes down to it, if they can play, they can stay”
    _________________________________
    Very true – this attitude by players, owners and especially fans is why professional sports are losing to college sports.
    And it will continue. Football will follow basketball and baseball.

  47. DM says: Jun 17, 2010 10:04 AM

    Deb says:
    June 15, 2010 1:28 PM
    The Steelers, then reigning Super Bowl champions, were brandishing contraband assault weapons. Not cool–especially in light of all the other shooting and “thuggery” incidents in the league. Considering that they weren’t trained in weapons use, it’s a blessing no one was hurt. I’m not arguing against anyone’s Constitutional right to bear arms. But that ’06 incident should have been another RED FLAG for the NFL to address gun issues as a whole instead of treating them as individual incidents. The league should set standards for how players, their security people, and teams–including mine–present themselves to the public. I’m tired of reading about an NFL player being involved in a shooting every other week. I do not want the children in my family thinking a football uniform comes with an ammo belt and assault rifle.
    ——————————————
    I agree – BUT you go on in different post to say:
    “but as long as he can ______________ in the wild winds of Heinz Field, I don’t care how many _______________he assaults.”
    Fill in the blanks. The problem with pro-sport.

  48. DM says: Jun 17, 2010 7:06 PM

    Rothlisberger: no arrests or disciplinary issues.
    ——————–
    Isn’t someone missing a few games this year? And that’s because?

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