The Curious Case of Benjamin Roethlisberger
Box office numbers and award nominations don’t lie. My guess is that you probably saw “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in the theaters a few years back. Terrific adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald (he wrote “The Great Gatsby!”) short story, featuring Brad Pitt as a man born old and progressively gets younger throughout his life.
The concept is astounding – someone living life in reverse…getting younger by the day, and acting like it.
Unlike Button who had a valid reason to regress, Pittsburgh Steeleers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has none.
Roethlisberger starred at Miami University in Ohio, the hometown hero leading his team to victory each week. Despite limited playing time at the position in high school, Roethlisberger went on to set every meaningful career and single-season passing record for the RedHawks.
He was rewarded for his efforts by being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the premier franchises in the National Football League. The Steelers signed him to a lavish multi-million dollar contract before ever stepped onto an NFL field. Touted as their “QB of the future,” Roethlisberger started his career at the bottom of the depth chart, giving him the time needed to learn the game from veterans Tommy Maddox and Charlie Batch.
However, when both of his mentors fell to injury, Roethlisberger was pressed into action. Showing his talent and leadership from Day One, he started 13 regular season games as a rookie – and the Steelers won them all. With Roethlisberger at the helm, Pittsburgh made a deep run into the postseason in 2004-05. The following year, they won the Super Bowl. The futre was now for the Steelers.
However, following the Super Bowl victory, things started to “Button-up” for the franchise quarterback.
In June 2006, Roethlisberger crashed his motorcycle. Because he wasn’t wearing a helmet, his injuries were immense. He underwent hours of surgeries to reconstruct his literally shattered face.
Three years later, he was the target of a civil suit in an alleged sexual assault in Lake Tahoe. While this case never amounted to anything, mostly due to the accuser ruining her own case, the court of public opinion noted the event and moved on to football.
This past March, however, a salacious new scandal broke out in Millidgeville, GA. Local police announced they were investigating Roethlisberger for an alleged sexual assault of a 20-year old college student in a club bathroom. No charges were filed, but the quarterback’s name has been dragged through the mud. One version of the story of that night in Georgia says that off-duty Pennsylvania police, acting as security, knowingly allowed the sexual conduct and kept the accuser’s friends away from her.
Over the past decade, Big Ben has gone from hometown QB hero to rookie phenom to Super Bowl champion to a knucklehead riding a motorcycle without a helmet to being investigated from alleged sexual assault. Quite a career arc, no? And now he will be suspended by the NFL for his conduct, with a formal announcement coming early this week.
So, PR experts, how can Ben Roethlisberger turn his image around before he continues to regress into an infant? Leave your answers in the comments section!
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