First of all, allow me add my two cents towards disproving the theory that the production of graphs (at least ones that show yourself tending to win) incurs instantaneous wrath from the poker gods. I won 3 racks yesterday in the Commerce 20 and so far today absolutely, positively, without question, am incapable of losing a hand online. I've won 140 bets in about 1000 hands. Sadly I'm only playing 2/4, but whatever, it still feels awesome to make a flush or better every other orbit.
Now, on to the topic of the day. When I first started writing this blog I actually did a little bit of "research" into what makes various bloggers successful (I am such a tool). To be honest I don't remember much of what I learned except the tidbit that it's important to stay on topic only most of the time. Basically your blog needs a theme, but you need to deviate it from it fairly often because generally when you do you'll be writing about something you're fairly passionate about and it should be fun/good. I haven't deviated much lately, but as a Pittsburgh sports fan feel the need to weigh in on Ben. If you don't care, know, or are sick of hearing about Ben, by all means skip on to your next piece of reading. Else, here we go.
My friend Dan (not Reno Dan, or Dan Ben, or Yoda Dan or even Dan-O) sent me an email the other day basically asking for how I felt about the whole situation, asking three specific questions:
1. What do you think is a fair suspension, if any?
2. Will you cheer for them at the helm?
3. Do you want him to be traded?
I guess I'll start with these questions and see where we go from there. I felt that a 3-4 game suspension was fair. Originally I was thinking 2, but after the police report was released, well, some of the stuff in there was towards the bad end of you could you have possibly expected. He got 6, but it sounds like if he's on his best behavior it'll get knocked down to 4. I think this is pretty fair. He fucked up really badly, but 8 games would have completely torpedoed the Steelers' season. Keep in mind that a 4 game suspension costs Ben 1/4th of his salary, which will equate to something like 2 or 3 million dollars. That is not a slap on the wrist, even if you are inordinately wealthy.
I will still cheer for the Steelers at the helm, but I will be pissed off at him forever for leaving me with no choice but to do so. My allegiance to the team runs far deeper than who is currently playing quarterback. I'm not going to let his idiotic behavior ruin the enjoyment I get out of rooting for the Steelers.
I would love to see him traded if there was any way the Steelers could get what I'd consider fair value for him, which at this point is absolutely impossible. As the draft looms closer (it kicks off in just under an hour....I'll likely post this after it's started) everyone continues to report "trade rumors" and all that jazz. My theory is that there are a few reasons for this. First of all, sports journalists needs shit to talk about, and why not this? It's a story that even non-sports fans have some interest in. Second of all, I believe the Steelers are probably fanning the flames a little bit, making sure to make it known that they are "entertaining offers" (even though Rooney stated specifically that they never, ever announce trades until they are completely done) to sort of appease everyone and say "look we're trying to trade him but nobody is gonna give us squadush for this asshole." What is fair value? I don't know, but the number 1 pick in the draft is not enough, and there is no way anybody is giving them more than that. Would you trade a guy with 2 rings for Sam Bradford? Would you support your team if it did? Seriously.
Something else that has come up is the thought that if the Steelers don't trade him they are compromising the high standards of conduct that they have held all members of their organization to for literally decades. The claim is that by not trading Ben they'll be just like every other team. That quite frankly is a bunch of bologna. First of all, "high standards" is not a binary thing. It's not like every team simply either has a good moral compass or not. There is a large swath of grey to be had in this discussion. By not trading Ben the Steelers are not dis-connecting their compass; they are merely showing the limits to which it will rule their personnel decisions when considering putting a good final product out on the field. They've always done this in the past when making draft choices. To this day I remember talking to my friend Kevin from high school after they drafted Plaxico. His comment was something like this:
"Sure, he's not their kind of player. He's a thug. But he was just too good not to take."
And eventually the Steelers had to let him go and everyone said "Why did you do that he's so awesome!?" and I personally had faith that they were making the right decision like they seem to always do when it comes parting ways with players for financial or other reasons (Alan Faneca non-withstanding why oh why didn't we pay that man his money). Well we all know where Plax ended up. There are lots of other guys like this, but Bam Morris is the first that comes to mind. I loved that guy....but they had to let him go, and I understood. And of course Mr. Holmes, Super Bowl MVP, traded for a 4th round pick who'll probably turn into a special teamer or perhaps our 7th line backer, is another. By not trading Ben the Steelers aren't sinking to a new low. They're just showing the limits of their policies. How many other teams would trade Ben in this situation? I don't think many.
So basically what I think it comes down to is that Ben is an asshole, but Steelers' ownership simply isn't going to risk blowing up the team for a decade (good quarterbacks are hard to come by). It's too much to ask. The fans are going to be very pissed off at Ben, mainly because they are going to have to deal with fans of every other team calling our quarterback a rapist, and they have a right to be. But most of them won't abandon the team. Ben will be on a short leash from now on and hopefully his family and friends will help keep him under control. Heck, maybe he'll even find Jesus. That'd be great, if he just came home one day and Jesus was sitting on his couch and looked at him and said "Dude...." If all else fails, at least maybe this sign will help remind him that big brother is watching.