On Monday, hours after Ocmulgee Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright announced that Ben Roethlisberger wouldn't be charged with sexual assault, the Steelers quarterback read a brief statement from the team locker room.
And in the time it took Big Ben to enter stage right and mumble the first few words from the sheet of paper in front of him, any redemption he may have had coming his way was gone.
The decision to begin by "expressing gratitude for the thorough investigation process in Georgia and the prosecutor's decision not to bring charges," instead of, you know, apologizing right off the bat -- to his accuser, the fans, the organization and the league -- was bad enough. Inexplicably making things worse: Roethlisberger's appearance. He looked like he just stepped off the set of "Deliverance 2: From Georgia to the South Side and Back."
FanHouse's Clay Travis tweeted similar thoughts Monday night: "Good move by Big Ben managing to look exactly like the stereotype of a man who commits sexual assault. All he needed was wispy 'stache." It was there, it was just hard to see under the upper-lip fat and sweat.
Clay had more: "Seriously didn't anyone say, maybe you shouldn't apologize while rocking the oily mullet? Does he have no intelligent friends?" This is how bad things have gotten: Terry Bradshaw sounds like the voice of reason.
Fans, in general, are a forgiving bunch. But you can't show up looking like Chris Farley in the last years of his life and expect everything to be OK. Take a shower, wash your hair (cut it, even!), put on a suit. Then read the statement. How is this not obvious?