In a much-hyped cover story that hits newsstands Wednesday, Sports Illustrated details the lewd, rude and classless behavior of the much-maligned Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback. Jack McCallum's article could probably be defined as a hit piece, but it's an entirely fair one. If half of the stuff in the story is true, then Roethlisberger is even scummier than imagined.
The story starts with McCallum telling the tale of a Steeler-loving, heavily tattooed bus driver who is considering putting a red line through the Roethlisberger tattooo which covers his left bicep. It gets a lot worse.
Other highlights include:
• A post-accident Roethlisberger getting videotaped riding on his motorcycle without a helmet and flipping off the camera.
• Roethlisberger pulling the "do you know who I am?" routine with various people.
• Big Ben's nickname for what he wanted to have happen in the bathroom that night in Georgia. (It invokes the name of the president who served before George W. Bush.)
• Classy comments he made to various women, including a pregnant waitress at T.G.I. Friday's.
• Walking out on bar tabs (despite, you know, the $102 million contract).
It's a fairly reported piece, but there are plenty of bits of information from sources with definite reasons to have an agenda. (What group of underage girls at a bar tells anyone they're not 21?) Defenders of Ben could say that some of the unnamed people quoted in the story could be kicking a man when he's down. However, that would assume that after reading this story, there'll be any people left to defend Ben Roethlisberger.