maryrose, aka Tim Gleason, is the author of the highly acclaimed book From Black To Gold: The Pittsburgh Steelers, available now. - Michael Bean -
I wish not to re-hash the Ben Roethlisberger story. Steeler Nation is confused about what exactly happened in Georgia that night. Some of us jump to the worst conclusion, an egregious violation, while others tend to think that what happened between Big Ben and Miss Milledgeville was an audition for a sequel to Animal House. Hell, we can't even agree on who should take his place during his four-game sentence in the dog house, but I digress.
Oops, did I say dog house? Sorry, I know Michael Vick is pretty sensitive to that. After what he went through, I expect him to be mowing the lawn of every church in Philly. Instead, he gets into an argument with one of his dogfighting co-defendants at a birthday bash in Virginia Beach, who left the party and was shot in the leg. No problem there, Mr. Commissioner. Since the details of the incident are sketchy at best, you decided not to take action. After all, you would never want to act upon sketchy details or circumstantial evidence.
By the way, what was sketchy about Oakland Raiders' Coach Tom Cable's antics? Did you not believe Assistant Coach Randy Hanson, with .27 less alcohol in him than Miss Milledgeville, when he told us that Cable broke his jaw with a right cross in a coaches' meeting? Other assistants hush-hushed the matter, but it didn't stop two former women in Cable's life to come forward in interviews and claim that Cable physically and verbally abused them. Sandy Cable, a former spouse, absorbed a similar haymaker to Hanson's, while Maria Lutz told ESPN that Cable choked her and then ripped the phone off the wall when she tried to call the police. Lutz ended up in emergency, but hey, I'm really not detecting a pattern there, certainly not like Ben. You say that front office staff and coaches are held to a higher standard, so what exactly does Coach Cable have to do to get a one-game suspension? And who does he have to act like to get four games, Josey Wales?
I also see no pattern with Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson. In 2008, Benson was arrested after failing a sobriety test while operating a 30-foot boat, then resisting arrest before being hit with pepper spray and dragged ashore by officers. Two months ago, Benson was arrested and charged with assault with injury after an incident at a bar, where officials said he punched a bar employee in the face, according to an arrest affidavit.
Apparently, incidents in bars involving alcohol don't bother you, or maybe just bother you sometimes. Or maybe you use Eeny-Meeny-Miny-Mo to figure out who to punish and who to shrug off. Certainly, Vince Young was glad he didn't land on Mo. Young received a misdemeanor citation for assault at a Dallas-area strip club. Young didn't like seeing a man showing an upside-down hook-em-horns sign, so he got into an altercation, shown on video, that resulted in the man busting his lip. No problem. Boys will be boys.
At least Rey Maualuga, another Bengal, made his drunken victim a parking meter and two parked cars. Maualuga pleaded guilty to drunken driving in February and received a suspended sentence. Police said he hit a parking meter and two parked cars in northern Kentucky. He was charged with drunken and careless driving. Your response? Nada. Maybe if he would have killed someone instead of playing street pinball you might have taken action?
So what do Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, Tom Cable, Cedric Benson, Vince Young and Rey Maualuga all have in common? They have all been involved with the law in the past year; Some with aggression, some with women, some with alcohol. And how many games did those six people collectively get suspended? The answer is four - all to one person. How do you explain that, Mr. Goodell? Did you not trust police reports, an assistant coach, a video camera and two women crying to ESPN?
Let's be clear here, Mr. Commissioner. I am not arguing on Ben's behalf. He's getting four games and that's that. Ben has accepted it, the Steelers accepted it and Steeler Nation has accepted it. But your selective sanctioning is appalling. You say you want to uphold the integrity of the shield. Well sir, you better have that shield handy the next time you see Tom Cable, or run into Vince Young, or find yourself at a social event with Michael Vick, because you just might need that shield to protect yourself from getting punched or shot.