Thin-skinned Roethlisberger changes hometown after criticism

Ben Roethlisberger(notes) is proving that, indeed, you can't go home again.

In the current Pittsburgh Steelers media guide, the embattled quarterback lists his hometown as Corey Rawson, Ohio instead of Findlay, Ohio, the place of his birth and the city he's identified as such during his NFL career. Strangely, Corey Rawson doesn't exist. Roethlisberger may have been referring to his high school, which was named Cory-Rawson High School.

No reason was given for the switch, but it's widely assumed that the move has something to do with Roethlisberger's attempt to reshape his image after an offseason in which he was accused of sexual assault. Either he wants to distance himself from his past or he's trying to send a message to a town that he thinks didn't support him properly during his troubles. The Associated Press assumes the latter:

Roethlisberger apparently made the change because he was displeased with unflattering comments made about him by some residents of hometown Findlay, Ohio, following the March incident.

As recently as March, Pittsburgh newspapers were running articles about how Roethlisberger was still loved in his hometown. Residents quoted in one story defended the quarterback and spoke of his sterling reputation when he lived there. Another story led with the tale of a Findlay bar that still supports Big Ben, but also featured quotes of those who had turned on him. It's a pretty natural reaction. Some people defend, others change their mind. What did Roethlisberger expect to happen? That everyone would be in his corner?

[Photos: See Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action.]

Perhaps it was a quote by the mayor of Findlay that turned Roethlisberger against his hometown. Said Peter Sehnert:

"The first one, you give him the benefit of the doubt. [...] But then another one and now maybe another one after that? It's not looking good. Something's not right here."

That's not the most delicate talk you'll hear from a politician, but it's not mean enough that it should have forced Roethlisberger to abandon an entire town, especially for a fictitious one like Corey Rawson.

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