Ben Roethlisberger: Unforgiven.
By Kevin Probst
I read an article recently authored by a man named Buzz Bissinger who writes for the Daily Beast. The article was not so much a treatise on the football talent of Pittsburgh’s controversial quarterback, rather it seemed to be a character assassination piece. As I was reading Bissinger’s vitriol I was reminded of the recent calls to reduce the angry rhetoric after the shootings in Tucson. I don’t think too many are listening. I know someone out there is probably concerned for Roethlisberger’s safety, fearing someone will be compelled to bring harm to the target in Bissinger’s crosshairs.
I’m not writing this piece to defend the actions of Roethlisberger on that fateful night in Milledgeville, Georgia . If he is guilty as accused I think his actions were despicable. But I can sympathize with whoever was assigned to investigate the accusations of the young college girl against one of football’s most successful quarterbacks. Would Roethlisberger lie to save his career? It’s likely. But how much credence can an investigator give to an inebriated college kid? How accurate can her statements be? How inebriated was she? What does she remember and what does she not remember happened on that “Rainy Night in Georgia”?
Bissinger doesn’t hide his regret that “Roethlisberger was never criminally charged”. He seems to insinuate that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was covering for Roesthlisberger after producing “500 pages of hemming and hawing.” Maybe, just maybe, there were legitimate reasons why no criminal charges filed.
Bissinger states that the “contrition of Big Ben has turned into the all too familiar condescension of Big Ben.” He goes on to ridicule Ben’s apology and declare it insincere. “…he was deft enough to talk the talk and do his best to squirm out of it….I was young, I was dumb, I apologize to my teammates, I apologize to the fans, I promise never to do something like this again, I have found religion and will from now on attribute every success on the field to God. (as if God gives a flying crap about football)” (parenthesis his)
Again, I’m not defending Roethlisberger. His apology indicates he feels guilt and wants to rectify some wrong committed. National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell must have had good reason to suspend him for six games. Bissinger makes a good point that Roethlisberger had a history of inappropriate behavior and poor decision making in his personal life. Even Coach Cowher warned him that one day he would suffer consequences for such behavior.
This is why men have less fear standing before God in judgment than they do standing before men. God is merciful. He is a God of grace. He is a God who grants second chances. Bissinger’s article casts stones of ridicule and disbelief at Roethlisberger for his claim to have “found God.” But what if Ben’s “contrition” is genuine? What if Ben’s ‘condescension’ is actually true humility?
Mr. Bissinger ends his article by making a ridiculous declaration that God may very well care about football if “the Packers break your (Roethlisberger) legs on the first series of downs.” Only a perfect being, a person who never sinned or ever made a mistake in his life would have the authority to pray for such a thing to happen to his fellow man. We must not be so condescending as to question a person’s repentance to God. That is an issue between Roethlisberger and God and we dare not interfere in something so important.
I don’t know if Ben Roesthlisberger has truly found God but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. If Mr. Bissinger apologized for wishing harm to Big Ben I don’t think we should question the sincerity of his apology. We should give him the benefit of the doubt.
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.