“Bullspit!” That’s what many people have been saying all week regarding Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s interview with KDKA’s Bob Pompeani last Monday.
You know the interview I’m talking about, right? The one where he said he was deeply sorry for his actions that caused the rift with Antonio Brown, the guy who, to quote Roethlisberger: ‘made me who I am.’
Roethlisberger said he and Brown were great friends, and that he’s so sorry things between them have gotten to the point where the receiver now has so much contempt for the quarterback, his former buddy, friend, pal.
Roethlisberger wasn’t sincere, was he? I sure didn’t think so when I discussed the interview with my really good friend, Bryan Anthony Davis, on our weekly podcast, The Steelers Hangover.
Obviously, unlike Roethlisberger, I’m genuine, so when I say Bryan is my really good friend, I mean it. But Big Ben and AB really good friends? Big Ben was being his usual disingenuous self. The whole part about Brown making Roethlisberger who he is today. Yeah, right, Roethlisberger, the man who earned his second Super Bowl ring while Brown was still at Central Michigan.
Give me a break.
Don’t get me wrong, as I told Bryan last Monday evening, I was really glad Roethlisberger took the high road and didn’t add any more negative fuel to the on-going fire that has been No. 84 since 2018 turned into 2019, but there was no way I thought the soon to be 16-year veteran quarterback was being honest with Pompeani.
What about the part where Roethlisberger said he reached out to Brown (“Tone”) several times since their rift began and was saddened by a lack of a response? Total bull, right? At least that’s what a really awesome new caller to our show said about that when he talked to Bryan and me last Monday night around 10:30 p.m.
Another person who, like the caller to the Hangover on Monday, didn’t buy Roethlisberger’s story, was ESPN’s Marcus Spears, a former NFL player who out and out called the Steelers quarterback a ‘liar’ regarding the health of his relationship with Brown toward the end of the 2018 season.
Moving on to receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and some of the things he said on Wednesday during OTAs. In a rather mature interview session with reporters (at least on the surface, hint, hint), Smith-Schuster said, among other things, that he’d sacrifice individual success for team goals. He also said he’d be available to reporters without restrictions in 2019.
Again, very mature. Or maybe it was all a dig at Brown, especially the quote, courtesy of the Trib’s Joe Rutter, where Smith-Schuster said, “I’m not going to be an a**hole.”
At least that’s what Steelers beat reporter Mark Kaboly from The Athletic inferred when he Tweeted another quote: “JuJu Smith-Schuster took the high road with most of his comments today but toss, IMO, a little dart at Antonio Brown: “'I will take 5 catches for 30 yards and win the game than have 10 catches, two touchdowns.'"
Kaboly quickly drew the ire of Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree who Tweeted:”Here u go tryna start beef fat boy leave the past alone.”
A bunch of people came to Kaboly’s defense after Dupree's rather tasteless—and very immature—comments to a reporter that he has to actually be around on a regular basis.
How dare Bud, right? Obviously, JuJu was going after AB with his comments, especially the a-hole part.
Speaking of insincere, that’s what I’ve mostly been up to this point regarding my opinion on the sincerity of both Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster.
Was Roethlisberger being genuine regarding his feelings toward Brown? Was JuJu covertly taking shots at Brown when he said all of those nice things on Wednesday?
It doesn’t matter what I think. It doesn’t matter what Mark Kaboly thinks. It doesn’t matter what Marcus Spears thinks. The point is, these two guys said all of the right things.
And while Dupree was rather crude and, quite frankly, stupid for his fat-shaming of Kaboly, he was right about one thing: what’s up with everyone trying to start beef out of thin air?
Haven’t Steelers players provided us with enough negative quotes in recent years to write an entire book? Haven’t the fans and the media been pretty darn adamant about these guys either staying off of social media or at least acting mature while engaging with others on various platforms?
When a player says something negative, we take it at face-value. We don’t bother to speculate. We don’t even try to spin it. “That fool was being negative,” we all say.
But when a player says something positive, we say he’s full of it? We call him a liar?
If anyone’s full of it, it’s the people—including yours truly—questioning the sincerity of Roethlisberger, of Smith-Schuster.
Finally, everyone has been dying for the Steelers to say the right things, to act the right way.
They have been lately. Let’s stop spinning positives into negatives.