A year after Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was nearly run out of Pittsburgh, he got married there.
The wedding included plenty of big names, along with more than a little help from the police. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, guests included Steelers President Emeritus and U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney (pictured), Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and of course pro wrestler Triple H.
Somewhat more interesting was the wedding party. In addition to the presence of several teammates (including Willie “Sausage Party” Colon, Brett Keisel, Trai Essex, Ramon Foster, Chris Kemoeatu, Doug Legursky, Maurkice Pouncey, and Max Starks), ESPN analyst Merril Hoge and one of Roethlisberger’s notorious Milledgeville bodyguards, Ed Joyner, served as ushers.
Hoge’s role in the wedding comes barely two years after ESPN sustained significant criticism for ignoring a sexual assault lawsuit filed against Roethlisberger in Nevada, based possibly on a too-close-for-comfort relationship with the quarterback. And Hoge took a break from the bash to sound off on reports of looming labor peace, committing along the way a mild case of ESPN-on-ESPN crime.
“NFL is on!” Hoge tweeted. “However I’m at Ben Rothlisberger wedding right now and players that should have voted just heard the news!!”
But Hoge didn’t have his facts straight. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen didn’t report that a vote had been taken by the NFLPA* Executive Committee of board of player representatives; instead, Mort said only that a vote is expected Monday.
In Ohio Township, Pennsylvania, police reportedly blocked access to the church at which the wedding was held “for hours before the ceremony.” Also, Pittsburgh police joined a private security firm to control access to the downtown location of the reception, shutting down 10th Street between Fort Duquesne Boulevard and Penn Avenue. That came after the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department swept the site of the reception with bomb-sniffing dogs.
It’d be interesting to know, at a time when local budgets are increasingly strapped, whether Roethlisberger reimbursed the police departments for the expenses incurred. (The chances of the Pittsburgh media sending FOIA requests to get to the bottom of this are roughly equivalent to the chances of PFT doing it, but for entirely different reasons. The local media has, by all appearances, reattached its lips to the rear end of Roethlisberger after last year’s ugliness. We’re just lazy.)
And, yes, linebacker James Harrison reportedly attended the service. Man, we hope he gave a toast.