Suspension, Fine? Roethlisberger Couldn't Care Less
It never does.
In fact, the next knucklehead in sports will surface by the end of the month, or probably by the end of the week, and likely sooner than that.
Roethlisberger is just a symptom of a historical problem. Suspensions. Fines. Tongue lashings. Water boarding. Try as you might, you can't scare more than a few athletes into doing the right thing -- especially those with real or perceived clout -- because they think they already know it all.
They think they know that what happened to those other knuckleheads can't possibly happen to them. They think that, even if they are caught, they won't have anywhere near the same punishment as those other knuckleheads.
Mostly, they think that they won't get caught.
Just in the NFL in recent years, you've had everything from Pacman Jones and his 10 (ahem) interviews by the police within months, to the late Chris Henry's four arrests, to a drunk Donte Stallworth killing a guy with his Bentley, to Michael Vick and his dogs, to Plaxico Burress and his gun.
Elsewhere in sports, you've had Gilbert Arenas and his guns, along with Tiger Woods and his women, and you can keep going for eternity.
Woods had it right, when he described the reason for his reckless extra-marital transactions as having "a sense of entitlement." He was speaking for Eldrick Tont Woods and for all of those other knuckleheads -- past, present and future.
There isn't one.
Never has been, and never will be.
In the NFL, for instance, you'll always have clueless teams such as the New York Jets, who have added Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Antonio Cromartie in the past year, taking Al Davis' "Just win, baby" to the extreme. So what if you are a knucklehead for this team? If you wait a while, you can become somebody else's knucklehead with a raise.
You also have Nike, which rarely has met a high-profile athlete that it wanted to drop. For instance: While the endorsement world kept collapsing around Woods -- from AT&T to Gatorade to Accenture -- the swoosh people remained. Then, after PLB Sports, which makes something called Big Ben's Beef Jerky, announced this week that it had terminated its contract with Roethlisberger, the swoosh people quickly said that Roethlisberger will remain one of their knuckleheads.
And this part's not a surprise, either: Roethlisberger is the epitome of arrogance wrapped in stupidity, with no end in sight. For one, he is at least a three-time loser regarding his decision-making away from the huddle. There was his nearly fatal motorcycle accident four years ago when he was told by his coach to stay off the thing, and now you've had two sexual assault charges against him within the last several months.
As for the latest charge, a district attorney in Milledgeville, Ga., decided not to prosecute the case. Even so, he gave enough details about what he said happened in a nightclub restroom -- featuring the 6-foot-5 and 241-pound Roethlisberger and a "highly intoxicated" 20-year-old woman who was much smaller than the quarterback -- to make you wonder if Roethlisberger has a vacancy between his ears.
It gets worse. When Roethlisberger walked into his news conference on Monday after he got his considerable break from that prosecutor, he resembled a burned-out love child from the 1960s -- crazy hair, unshaven face, spacey look.
Or I should say an uncaring look.
The look of entitlement.
The locker room closes to the media at 11:45 a.m.
The point is, Roethlisberger hasn't created much goodwill through the years, even among his teammates. Wide receiver Hines Ward has ripped him a couple of times -- once, when Roethlisberger said he needed taller receivers despite winning two Super Bowls with the ones he had, and once, for not playing with a head injury that Ward thought wasn't as bad as Roethlisberger said it was.
He doesn't get it. He never did.
And, yes, Roethlisberger cleaned himself up -- after a mighty shove from somebody -- for Tuesday's meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but Roethlisberger's message already had been sent the day before by his silly ways in that news conference.
That's the mantra for all of these knuckleheads.