Ben Roethlisberger, here is your latest controversy – it’s funny about access. And I never try to be too judgemental on professional athletes, especially their private lives, because – first of all, everyone wants a piece of them. And if they walk outside, everybody’s got the cell phone to take pictures – and those didn’t exist 50 years ago.
So I always kinda feel that pro athletes are the rockstars of society. Just entertain me!! because I really don’t care about your private life and players also face different stresses in different situations. There’s guys who’ve had a couple of beers and they pop off because there’s a lot of jealousy and animosity, so I kinda leave the guys alone with their off the field stuff. You know, don’t be doing drugs, and don’t be putting yourself on the internet.
But if you’re out at a bar and somebody takes a picture, it looks a lot worse than it is. I’ll never forget this, I believe there was a picture that leaked 2 years ago about former Florida coach Urban Meyer, where he was having a glass of wine with his wife and it ended up on some sports blog, I don’t even recall which one it was.
For all intents and purposes that could’ve been at an Italian restaurant – perhaps they’re celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary or something. But for some reason, something about a college football coach having a glass of wine and even having his arm around his wife and people were like “omg, that is no good for the program, Florida is breaking rules here!” No, it’s a husband having a glass of wine with his wife. But everything apparently seems to really look worse than it is.
This past week, Big Ben – 1am at a piano bar in Forth Worth, Texas, the Dallas paper reads that he was “boozing it up!” Well heck, I think I might’ve been boozing it up that night as well! Perhaps I had a cocktail. That sounds bad…doesn’t it? Someone asks you “what did you do last night?” you say “I went for a drink” and they say to you “really? I heard you were boozing it up!” We gotta find a better term than “boozing” it up.
First off, Big Ben is 265, last time I checked though; it was perfectly legal to drink in the state of Texas. So, 265 pound dude – who by the way, hails from Ohio but lives in Pittsburgh, had a few beers. “Wow, this is outreagous!” is what people were saying the next day. Now, this is probably were I don’t want my QB to be, but we live in a different world today. There was a comedian named Larry Miller who use to say “if women knew what men were thinking, they would slap us all day!”
So that’s why I always say this about athletes, “if you knew what they were doing, you just wouldn’t like them as much” So, we live in this world where a picture at a piano bar – 1am in the morning, a guy is chugging down beers, it’s a Tuesday and not a Saturday – the game isn’t tomorrow, a guy having a beer. Like I said, it’s not the place I’d want my QB at, but I just wouldn’t make a big deal about it if he was.
For every guy who reads these daily rants and does business, especially for those of you who travel a lot for work. If you had a big meeting tomorrow, guess what? You’ll probably have a cocktail tonight; you might stay out until midnight, that’s the world of travel! These guys – during the week, go out. It’s Forth Worth; believe it or not, these players don’t just study film all day.
Now, generally speaking, the way it works is – at the Superbowl that is – Thursday and Friday before the game, the curfew comes down from 1am to 11pm – and players complain about it, they argue about it, but you have to have it in place, I don’t disagree with that, I can’t really make too much out of it. It’s not ideal, but I’m trying to be realistic about this stuff…we just live in a different society.
The only question I had about Big Ben – when I first heard this story, the only thing that made me shake my head is that I wouldn’t want to go out to a bar if I was Big Ben. Listen, I’m really a nobody…so when I go out, I kinda hide. Don’t get me wrong, people are gracious and wonderful. But can you imagine being an NFL superstar QB at a bar in Forth Worth? I mean you’d might as well literally walk in with a big flag and wave it and it reads “Hi and I am here!”
By the way, Aaron Rogers is 6’2 215. If he puts a hat on, one day has a beard and the next day doesn’t, he can kinda hide. Then you talk about Big Ben…like heck, he’s a Waterbuffalo! The guy is like 6’5 270. There is probably nobody at the bar that looks like Big Ben. So my only question about Big Ben is “why would you want to put yourself through that?” It is amazing though…if Big Ben showed up to a bar, wearing a big hat people would then say “hey, Big Ben put on a hat and he was boozing!”
I also thought this story that broke out this past week was quite interesting. Now, this is a little thing, but I thought it was sort of a big thing. I often rant about how little things become big things. An arbitrator ruled, that he denied a grievance by the NFL Players Association – meaning the players and their union. And remember, we’re getting ready here for a big fight. You’ve got the owners on one side, the commissioner and you’ve got the players on the other side.
So, basically the players were trying to force teams to pay health insurance premiums for currently active players, because it’s going to expire March 3rd 2011 – that’s when players no longer have insurance. By the way, the judge stepped in and said “Nope, no thanks, you’re not getting it” Big win for the owners! The NFL argued “if there is no collective bargaining agreement reached, where not paying their insurance!” Like I said, this little story…it’s really a big thing! Because – other than women who are expecting babies, nobody in all of the US need insurance more than NFL players, and they’re not getting it come March 4th…it dries up!
So, that to me – and we know players are not great with their money, we know that statistically. Come March 4th, no insurance…good luck! Just like 30 million Americans who are paying for their own insurance. I don’t care how much you make, its expensive! So I thought that was a fairly notable story as well.