To suggest that Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger should be suspended from the NFL for the unimaginable behavior that led to his second sexual assault accusation in a year would hardly be original. Save for the Dream Team of attorneys that helped him avoid actual criminal charges in Milledgeville, Ga., last week, I can find no one who actually believes Roethlisberger should not receive a hefty ban for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
I have my own modest proposal: Neuter him.
I’m only half-kidding.
Forget fines and suspensions and stern-faced talking-to’s by commissioners, and let’s get down to punishment that fits the crime.
I’m aware that such punishment may seem a bit harsh, considering that the district attorney declined to prosecute due to insufficient evidence, and I’m also aware it would be illegal even if he had been tried and convicted.
Do it anyway. I can assure you that if I was the father of the 20-year-old college student that I believe he forced himself upon, it would already have been done. By force.
At the very least, let’s give Roethlisberger a choice: Have yourself chemically castrated or remove yourself from the NFL.
You see, the concern here is no longer for the reputation of the league. It’s for the safety of women. One way or another, young women in Roethlisberger’s presence must be protected from him, and I believe the only choices are physical impairment of his sex drive or the elimination of the only attribute that draws women near him: his status as a celebrity athlete. Honestly, look at him.
Women aren’t drinking with him in bars because they’re attracted to him. They’re drawn to his fame.
Prosecutorial decisions notwithstanding, it is my firm belief that Roethlisberger is a sex offender. His accuser in Georgia didn’t wait three or four days after consulting with an attorney to report that she had been assaulted in that public bathroom. She and her friends went outside and found the first police car they could and reported the alleged assault. Those are not the actions of a gold-digging liar. Those are the actions of a victim.
If you haven’t yet read her hand-written statement to police — read it.
Having already been accused of assault in Lake Tahoe, one would think that a celebrity of Roethlisberger’s stature would do everything in his power to stay out of a similar situation that would put his entire career, and his freedom, in jeopardy. Unless, of course, he can’t stop.
Which, apparently, he can’t.
A 1963 study showed an 80 percent recidivism rate of over 1,000 untreated sex offenders, but only a 2.3 percent rate of re-offense for those offenders who were surgically castrated. More recent studies showed similar results.
A 2009-2010 study showed a 100 percent recidivism rate of untreated NFL starting quarterbacks previously accused of sexual assault. Get the picture?
As it stands, the strongest punishment we can hope for Roethlisberger is a lengthy suspension and astronomical fine. If there were true justice, however, the next time he stepped on the field would be when he was weeding it as part of his prison work-release program. While neutered.
Sports personality Bob Frantz is a regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.