Sports

ESPN’s Roethlisberger coverage was vomit-inducing


Do better, ESPN.

Do better, ESPN.
Illustration: Shutterstock (Getty Images)

Most would honestly prefer it if ESPN, and other outlets that broadcast sports, not even attempt to provide any semblance of balance to their coverage of players or teams or individuals who have anything resembling a checkered past. Just be the megaphone for the league you’re in bed with, because we know you are anyway. Any attempt at addressing touchy issues is always so balloon-handed that it just makes things worse.

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Because it gives us uncomfortable, if not vomit-worthy moments, like last night’s four-hour dry heave of a tribute to Ben Roethlisberger, where Brian Griese refers to his past as having “made some mistakes.” That was about all they mentioned about Roethlisberger being a shit-heel. Instead, we were treated to slobbering montages and crowd shots of signs for Roethlisberger, held by people who probably should be caged off from society for the sake of all of us.

Roethlisberger didn’t “make mistakes.” We can’t count on the NFL’s partners to provide actual balance, so it’s up to us. Roethlisberger was twice accused of rape, and got as light of a suspension as possible. He missed the same amount of games that Tom Brady did for letting some air out of some footballs. There are plenty of more stories out there about Roethlisberger being swamp-raised creep.

And even if you get past that, and you can’t, this is the dumbass who broke his face riding a motorcycle helmetless, and then got caught doing so again after his accident. He’s the same Roethlisberger who has held the Steelers hostage for three seasons at least with his shitty play and his inability to throw the ball farther than you can piss and his Favre-ian self-drama about whether he would retire or not.

He is simply what people hate about sports, and the NFL specifically. His alleged crimes, gross and horrific, glossed over because he could play at an All-Pro level for a cornerstone franchise whose owners are revered for being old. And the broadcasters would prefer we forget about all of it as they stock the league full of billions, or make the faintest of allusions to terrible actions to still barely grasp onto the label of being a news organization or journalistic entity.

I hope Roethlisberger rides his motorcycle helmetless off into the sunset tomorrow right into a gorge full of starving badgers. It’s what he would deserve. And there’s a lot more fans that feel that way than the ones openly weeping into an Iron City right now. That’s balance.

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