Thursday, July 23, 2009

Big Ben Addresses Sexual Assault Allegations

For whatever reason, Huge Ben knows how to celebrate his Super Bowl wins in style. First, he busts his head open in a motorcycle accident. Now, Andrea McNulty accuses him of rape. Yikes. As a Steeler fan, I have to wonder why Roethlisberger insists on raining on our championship parades. I also wonder what effect this will have on next season.

The legal process likes to take its sweet time, so don't expect a trial (if there is one) any time soon. That means that, much like Kobe, Big Ben is going to have a lot of fun in visiting stadiums this season. But let's not forget that Kobe (innocent of rape but guilting of at least cheating on his wife) is still one of the most beloved NBA players internationally. How will the public respond to Big Ben (and you can bet people like Jemele Hill will be harping about racial undertones - "Kobe and Michael Vick got treated such-and-such while Ben got this treatment garbage).

Back in 2003, USA Today reported this about assault cases with athletes when Kobe's investigation was heating up. "Of those 168 allegations, involving 164 athletes, only 22 saw their cases go to trial, and only six cases resulted in convictions. In another 46 cases, a plea agreement was reached. Combined with the six athletes convicted at trial and one who pleaded guilty as charged, that gives the athletes a 32% total conviction rate in the resolved cases. That means more than two-thirds were never charged, saw the charges dropped or were acquitted."

So what happened? Basically, Big Ben called her to his room to fix a broken tv. It wasn't really broke, Ben just wanted to have his way with her. Afterwards, he realized there might be surveillance tapes and kicked her out, telling her not to tell anyone. He denies forcing himself on her, but doesn't talk about relations of any sort. You can bet they had sex, and she will claim she did not give consent while he will claim otherwise.

There's also the alleged cover-up conspiracy of the hotel staff that ignored her complaints, the fact that this is only civil suit (no criminal charges filed), the story that the victim has some crazy mental issues, and the long time lapse between the event and the accusation. All of that makes this case particulary weird and interesting.

My thoughts on the whole thing? It really sucks to be Large Ben right now. This has to be investigated fully. Even if she's lying through her teeth, he is going to face a lot of scrutiny before the truth comes out. This is going to be talked about by every reporter with every member of the Steelers organization. Whether they will crack under the pressure remains to be seen. Seriously, I thought more than once about possible crazy things that could happen this offseason just like in 2006. I asked myself, "what could top a motorcycle accident to the star QB?" Contract holdouts? Unlikely. Lemieux-like cancer? Maybe. Freak accident deaths? No way. Drug charges? Most likely. I never thought about rape allegations, but it's definitely worse. Think about teammates who have daughters or younger sisters. Think about what will be said when we hit a two or three game losing streak. WHY CAN"T WE HAVE A NORMAL OFFSEASON! Nothing better happen to Sidney Crosby before October...

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