This time, a 20-year-old student at Georgia College & State University accused Roethlisberger of assaulting her in the bathroom at Capital City nightclub early Friday morning in Milledgeville, Ga. Roethlisberger has hired attorney Ed Garland, who represented Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis during his murder case in 2000 and rapper T.I. on federal weapon charges, who claims the 28-year-old 2-time Super Bowl champion is innocent.
Last July, Andrea McNulty filed a civil suit against Roethlisberger stemming from an incident during a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Calif. Prosecutors didn’t file any criminal charges and the Nevada Supreme Court is still deciding where the case should be tried.
Roethlisberger, a white athlete, is innocent until proven guilty, but for black athletes, rapper Jay-Z said it best: Guilty until proven innocent.
Too often black stars on the level of Roethlisberger aren’t given the benefit of the doubt by the media, fans and the leagues when they run into their own legal troubles.
ESPN completely ignored Roethlisberger’s civil lawsuit as it never happened but it covered a similar lawsuit charged against Los Angeles Lakers guard Shannon Brown during last year’s NBA Playoffs.
In the case of quarterback Michael Vick, who was indeed guilty of a federal dogfighting conspiracy charge, he’s still being haunted by his actions after serving 18 months in federal prison.
There are several NFL teams that are in need of a quarterback who won’t take a chance on Vick based on his 2007 conviction. You couldn’t find one general manager that wouldn’t trade for Roethlisberger if he were available.
Could you imagine the reaction if this were Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who it seems like he’s criticized for the way he puts on his helmet, instead of Roethlisberger?
And we won’t even get started with the reaction around Tiger Woods and his transgressions, which is not against the law the last I checked. The one thing you can say about Woods is all of his alleged affairs were consensual in nature.
Roger Goodell has spent the majority of his three-and-a-half years as NFL commissioner cleaning up the league’s image, dropping the hammer on players who found themselves in trouble with the law. After Goodell suspended cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones for the entire season and the late Chris Henry for eight games in 2007 for multiple arrests, the commissioner released a statement saying, “We must protect the integrity of the NFL. The highest standards of conduct must be met by everyone in the NFL because it is a privilege to represent the NFL, not a right. These players, and all members of our league, have to make the right choices and decisions in their conduct on a consistent basis.”
Even if Roethlisberger is cleared of all charges, he has damaged the integrity of the NFL and Goodell should act accordingly. The NFL front office has to be cringing at the fact that a two-time Super Bowl champion and the face of the league’s most historic franchise is a household name of the TMZ.com audience.
How many chances is Roethlisberger entitled to because of his skin color? Nobody wants to say the “r-word” in the politically correct world we live in today, but who are we kidding – race is a factor.