Ben Roethlisberger and the Public Eye

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

On Saturday Ben Roethlisberger took a deep sigh of relief when he found out he would not be charged with sexual assault charges in an incident that took place in March. This was the second time that Big Bens name had been brought up in a sexual assault case. In his previous incident, no charges were filled, but there were accusations against Ben that were leaked to the media. The events that took place in March, at a college bar in Milledgeville, Ga, was a shock consider what had taken place a couple of months before.

The rumors have been swirling about the truth of these accusations. More importantly people are asking why a 28 professional athlete would be in a college bar and putting himself in a situation with a 20 year old college female in a bathroom stall. You can see how many people would jump to the conclusion of guilt. Officially the announcement that no charges will be filed comes today (Monday). What I wonder about this all is where do we go from here?

How do you react to a situation like this? It is a very tricky situation that really has a lot of complex issues. One of the biggest issues is perception and being in the public eye. The main thing that I have heard a lot of people say is “why would you put yourself in that situation?” I cannot argue with that statement what so ever. But as I sat there and listened to ESPN break down of the ramification of this decision of no charges being given I could not help but see a question that I wanted to ask myself…why do I keep putting myself in that position?

Honestly, you are not going to find me in a college bar or for that matter in a bathroom stall with a college girl. I will not put myself in that position. I remember in High School and College accountability was a major thing that was stressed. The chance to have someone else hold you to your word and commitment of pursuing a life that was above reproach was invaluable. Along with accountability, self discipline was another thing that was practiced and stressed. I do not want to be that guy on the side lines judging Ben Roethlisberger, or for that matter, judging anyone. What I do want to talk about is something that I think we (myself included) often forget about.

Discipline can show that we are faithful to something that we care about. Accountability can show that we are reliant on each other to live a life that is open and honest. But what about situations? Do we pay much attention to the situations that we put ourselves in? Maybe we ask God to give us patience but instead of waiting we go out and make our own way. Or maybe we ask God to help us watch how much we criticize others and then the next day we are bad mouthing a friend. Or maybe we ask God to help us with an addiction but later we put ourselves in a situation where our addiction can be fed. Whatever it may be, we often forget the responsibility that we have to follow through with what we say.

Its easy to ask others to take responsibility in making sure that you don’t do anything stupid (accountability). It is easy to not feel guilty about failing a discipline because everyone fails at being disciplined.. But the hardest part of it all is taking responsibility for our lives and responsibility for our actions.

The best place I have seen this illustrated is the book of Proverbs. More specifically in Proverbs 5.

Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house,

This passage was instructions from a father to a son about the ways of lust. But this can also illustrate whatever sin you want to talk about and the path that you can take to follow the road of destruction that it can lead to. Later in the book of Proverbs lust (really more talking about adultery) is describe as heaping hot coals on your lap and trying not to get burned. I love that imagery, Wouldn’t want to try it, but I love the picture that it brings about. All throughout Proverbs we learn about Wisdom and destruction or sin, and we learn a lot of this from a man that knew a lot about wisdom and a lot about destruction, Solomon. He experienced both, and for the sake of me not turning this post into a sermon, Solomon gave us an example of his life that was lived in two different ways.

I wan to encourage you this week to guard your heart and guard your actions.
I pray that we will continue to ask God for wisdom and guidance and put ourselves in positions to be used by God.

Today I want to challenge you to start reading the book of Proverbs with me. I plan on reading 2 Proberbs a day until the end of the month in pursuit of guarding my heart. I would love for you to join me.


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Kyle Reed

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Kyle Reed is a connector looking to connect with others. A 20 Something that is blogging his way through life and looking to connect through community. Also a team member of the 8BIT Network and brand evangelist. Find me on twitter: @kylelreed, lets chat.
  • Chelsea

    Definitely will join you with that! I think that’s a great idea. Good post!

  • Brett Barner

    Good post, but I’m confused who wrote this? Kyle or Ben? Anyway, there’s always something to be said about living above reproach. Even if it’s not true, the ability for it to be believable makes it hard to overcome.

    • Kyle Reed

      I wrote it, I just didn’t change the author box. Thanks

  • Zac

    First, I want to say this was an excellent post. I wasn’t sure what you were going to be writing about when you started off, but I admire how you talked about how we need to be responsible for ourselves rather than worry about what Ben Roethlisberger is doing.

    Now about Ben… Being from Pittsburgh, this was headline news for weeks when each story broke. The first story about the girl in Vegas was nothing, but a money grab. For starters, apparently a year passed before she even tried to bring up charges, and shortly after their encounter she bragged to her friends and coworkers that she was going to move to Pittsburgh and maybe have a little Ben. Verdict: Yes Ben had sex outside of marriage. No he did not force himself on her… at all.

    The college bar scenario while being a horrible decision to even get yourself into, here is how I think it went down. It was Ben’s birthday and apparently he had a bunch of girls hanging out with him some fellow teammates and whatnot in a VIP room at this college bar. Ben starts hooking up with some 20 year old girl (how is she, being under 21, even in the bar?) and they decide to go in the bathroom. Now it has been stated than no sex occurred, so perhaps some making out and maybe some “heavy petting.” Maybe she pushed his hands away or something, but my guess is when she came out of said bathroom her friends may have insinuated that she was being slutty and so to cover face she accused him of forcing her. This may or may not have been the way it went down, but regardless, it was a public restroom and if he had forced her to go into the bathroom with her, I am sure he would have been charged criminally. Verdict: Both Ben and the girl made dumb decisions (his being there in the first place, hers willingly going into the bathroom with him). Whatever the scenario, they both would have been better off not being in that situation in the first place.

    Now I have to say that when Ben first came to play for the Steelers he had PFJ, which stood for Play for Jesus, written on his shoes. The NFL fined him (or warned him) for having words written on them. Now whether he was a strong Christian or not at the time, he certainly wasn’t acting Christianly in Georgia on the night in question. However, since we don’t know the full story, I feel that we have to maintain innocent until proven guilty. Neither of these scenarios resulted in a criminal trial and therefore apparently he was not found guilty. However, the court of public opinion, at least in Pittsburgh, has had some fan backlash with people calling for the Steelers to cut him (my guess is this is a minority of the people).

    You are right. It is much easier to say that Ben needs to be more disciplined and held accountable. As hard as it is, I know if I don’t keep myself disciplined and accountable I will fall flat on my face. The only difference is that TMZ doesn’t care when Zac Cross screws up.

    • Kyle Reed

      I think that is the major thing here, seeing ourselves in the same situations, the same place. Not that we are in the public eye (thankfully) of TMZ, but the fact that we still put ourselves in positions to fail.

      To be honest I could care less about Big Ben, at least as a QB and his actions. I do care that he seems to have no friends who care about him. But we do not know the whole story.
      Lets just hope that he has learned from this story, and that we learn from his story and our mistakes.

      Good thoughts zac

  • Michael

    Dude. Great thoughts and challenge. I love the wisdom the Proverbs provides. I am on month 5 of reading one chapter a day everyday along with my other studies.

    It has been an amazing ride and I have found that when situations come up, I am more prepared for them.

    • Kyle Reed

      I love the first 10 chapters and the conversation between father and son. Inspiring and something that I always come back to.

  • Ben

    KYLE! Best post I have read by anyone this month. If this could be weaved into mentoring, which I do, it could really change a lot of people’s lives both Christian and non-Christian.

    You aren’t preaching legalism, it is more just not making stupid choices or allowing people to make perceptions out of situations.

    Anyway, this rocks, you rock and I am thankful for the stuff you are writing lately.

  • Shelby

    Love this! and I just finished reading proverbs and i’m starting to read hebrews, but It could never hurt to re-read proverbs again so I’ll try it again!