Ben Roethlisberger's attorney sent a letter to Roger Goodell last month, now made public. In it, he lays out the Roethlisberger side of the story — and gives an immature mind a few turns of phrase to giggle about.
Peter King reprints the letter from attorney David Cornwell, sent before the commish handed down a 4-to-6 game suspension. Some excerpts, and our thoughts.
Watching Ben off the field has given me great insight into why he has been so successful on it. Ben's rectilinear approach and his method of analysis — processing things as a quarterback so that he is in control — have served him well as a football player, but this singular focus is the primary reason that he is facing the challenges that he currently confronts.
His "singular focus?" As in, Ben could only think about sex and nothing but sex, and nothing else — not anyone's age, or level of intoxication, or resistance to sex — was going to stop him?
Though I could not have predicted these specifics, I am not surprised that Ben is dealing with a challenge of personal development. His passion for football and the remarkable success resulting from his commitment to the game necessarily means that he has compromised his development in other areas. No person has unlimited capacity.
"My client spent too much time playing football to learn appropriate lovemaking and consent-obtaining."
While Ben's sexual activities may offend some, anyone would have been hard pressed to predict that Ben's actions would have resulted in such vicious and false allegations. Ben bears exclusive responsibility for the consequences of his choices, but that does not mean that these particular consequences were foreseeable.
This basically says that although Roethlisberger took the blame, he's really not to blame.
Whether it is in the privacy of a hotel room or in the more risky environment of a semi-public restroom, a false allegation of rape simply is not within the zone of the foreseeable consequences of consensual sex.
Stop emphasizing that "consensual sex" bit. People whose sex is unambiguously consensual usually don't tend to give it that qualifier.
I cannot fathom how a suspension or any other form of traditional discipline will help Ben make a better choice the next time he decides to have consensual sex.
I can think of some nontraditional discipline that would change his sex life.
The difficulty that Ben had in articulating a distinction between the risks associated with private and semi-public sex is the product of the undeniable similarity between the Reno and Georgia accusations, even though one event occurred in the privacy of Ben's hotel room and the other in a semi-public bathroom.
"Ben still doesn't understand why railing a college kid in the bathroom at a bar is a bad thing."
I am unable to discern a link between a suspension and any useful lesson or message that would tend to alter Ben's conduct in the future.
Castration, on the other hand...
Ben is not the first 28 year old man to confront the reality of his actions being inconsistent with his values. Luckily, most of us have the benefit of navigating the treacherous waters of maturation outside of the glare of the media and the public.
...and high-priced lawyers.
We have also discussed my view that under certain circumstances imposing traditional discipline following a meeting between you and a player tends to devalue the impact of your unique qualities as Commissioner. While your authority emanates from the NFL Constitution and Bylaws, your effectiveness is the product of your ability to connect with the men who play the game in a manner that neither of your predecessors enjoyed.
"Rozelle and Tagliabue were cockmonglers!"
Goodell suspended Roethlisberger anyway, along with prescribing mandatory behavioral evaluations. Cornwell thanked him for his cooperation. And Peter King did the world a solid, introducing "semi-public bathroom sex" into the lexicon.
Monday Morning QB [Sports Illustrated]