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What if Big Ben were a Catholic priest?

April 22, 2010 - Paul Giannamore

Let's get this straight. Ben Roethlisberger is accused of being a cad, not once but twice. He isn't criminally charged. By the way, the second accusation includes loading underage girls with booze and apparently using his thug cop security detail to secure a few moments alone with the drunkest of the girls.

Swap the adjectives "Super-Bowl-winning " and "Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback" before the words "Ben Roethlisberger" for something else. Let's say he is "Catholic priest Ben Roethlisberger."

Swap the words "NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell" with "Pope Benedict XVI."

Imagine the pope coming out with a statement indicating Father Ben Roethlisberger would be permitted under certain circumstances to return to his job, especially after a  "comprehensive behavioral evaluation by professionals."

The world would be in a massive uproar. Matt Lauer would have the nails and Meredith Vieria would be bringing the tree to the "Today" show set upon which to crucify the pope.

But then, Father Ben didn't win two Super Bowls. Big Ben the quarterback did, so apparently that puts him into a different league -- the NFL -- in the court of public opinion.

The story will not make rippling headlines for days and days. Nobody in the major media will spend a nanosecond researching the NFL's record, even just for the past couple of years, let alone going back decades, of harboring criminals and coddling thugs because of the adulation of the crowds and the millions of dollars they bring in by their on-field play.

We won't hear from anything like the Survivors Network of Those Abused by the NFL, will we?

Sure, football isn't about our mortal souls and people in a position of guiding and directing us through the most sensitive and private matters of our lives.

But abuse of power is the same, isn't it?

In other words, we'll tolerate this garbage from athletes, but not priests.

NEITHER should be tolerated and both deserve the same level of public excoriation.


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