Big Ben's ringing endorsements
Friday, March 12, 2010; 11:11 AM
With his second accusation of sexual assault in as many years, Ben Roethlisberger has been proven guilty of bad judgment. Only bad judgment. With two Super Bowl rings in the past decade, Big Ben has also proved that he is a premier NFL quarterback. Until Georgia police complete their investigation it's hard to imagine many NFL franchises that wouldn't pay many millions to have Roethlisberger under center. If he is accused of a crime, the Steelers will have to mull over the always hazy calculus of whether he's worth it. Much will depend on how lurid the crime is and the public's reaction. Historically, for most teams, the solution comes down to money, not morals (though Pittsburgh may be an exception to that). How much can on field success mitigate the negative PR of having an accused sex offender wearing your team's colors? Players like Kobe Bryant, Plaxico Burress and Kenny Rogers demonstrate just how tricky that decision can be. We are still in the speculation phase, and it may turn out that Roethlisberger is being falsely accused. Even if he isn't though, it would probably take a conviction for teams, especially those starving for a championship caliber quarterback, to turn down Big Ben.