Roethlisberger hurt in motorcycle crash
June 13: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is in serious but stable condition after breaking his jaw and nose in a motorcycle crash. NBC's Mike Taibbi reports.
Police reports were sketchy, but it seems that Big Ben was tooling around Pittsburgh on his motorcycle, his head unencumbered by anything so sissified as a helmet, when his journey was interrupted by the Chrysler. The car took a dent in the passenger side fender. Roethlisberger briefly became a space cadet, his suborbital journey apparently interrupted when his head met the windshield of the New Yorker.
Reports said there was blood on the scene, but that Roethlisberger was alert and all his limbs were functioning when he was taken to the hospital. We can only hope there’s no serious damage.
This would normally be the place in the column where I launch into a tirade about how athletes shouldn’t ride motorcycles, go skiing, rock climbing, skydiving, bungee jumping, hot-air ballooning or pursue a hundred other activities that could end their careers. The only problem there is I don’t believe that.
Players are going to do these things, and once in a while someone will get hurt. But someone will also get hurt climbing out of the shower. Stuff happens.
But there’s a difference between an accident and stupidity. As much as I believe that everyone has a constitutional right to compete for a Darwin Award, I also believe that there’s such a thing as responsibility.
As a member of a football team that’s paying very good money in the hope that he will lead it to glory (again), Roethlisberger has an obligation to everybody on that team to be ready to play. The obligation extends to the game itself, the NFL, his agent, the front office, every employee in the organization and the fans. They all pin their hopes and dreams on him, and the minute he signs his contract, whether it’s for the league minimum or maximum, he has a duty to all of them.
But no one wants to see a brilliant young talent taken out because he’s too dumb to realize his own mortality.
No one can avoid every situation that could result in an accident. Players have been laid up for a year with knee injuries suffered in pick-up basketball games, and if you can’t play some driveway hoops, what can you do? All anyone can do is take reasonable precautions and don’t go out of your way to show that “dumb jock” isn’t just a stereotype.
That means buckling up when climbing behind the wheel of a car. It means putting on a helmet when firing up the bike.
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