Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Big Ben Very Lucky

Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback of the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, was recently hurt in a motorcycle crash. Luckily, his injuries aren't that serious, after they were originally feared to be, and he may be well enough to be with the Steelers when they start training camp soon.

But his crash is bringing many issues to the forefront, including whether teams which shell out millions of dollars should insert clauses barring specific activities [they already have a "dangerous activity" clause] which can result in their high-priced investments missing time.

Personally, I don't think they should. The dangerous clause should be enough to recoup for dangerous actions taken by players, and to restrict the off-season activities of players seems unfair to me. I'm not saying teams cannot put in such clauses - obviously, they're within their rights to protect themselves as they see fit, and players are not being forced to sign contracts. But teams should allow players to pursue off-season activity which they find enjoyable. As the Browns' GM Phil Savage noted:
"I wish all our players liked board games or low-risk hobbies," Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage said Tuesday. "Unfortunately, that's part of the reason that makes these guys professional athletes. They have a little bit of an edge to want to do more, seek more. Where's the line? I don't know that."
I think the line is when they are doing something illegal or obviously risky. The Browns' 1st-round pick of two years ago, Kellen Winslow, crashed his motorcycle last year doing loops in a parking lot without a license at 50mph and no training. He deserved to lose many of the incentives in his contract; in the end, the Browns decided to turn the money into performance-based incentives, which means that if he turns out to be as great as they expect him to be he can earn his money. If he does not... he loses it.

Ironically, it was after Winslow's crash that "Big Ben" Roethlisberger was asked by his team and teammates to stop riding his motorcycle as he did. Roethlisberger insisted that he rides in groups that are considered "safer" and though he does not wear a helmet, he pointed to Pennsylvania's repealing of the law that riders wear helmets. This one is tricky: Driving without a helmet is obviously not as safe, but not enough that the state felt it should have a law. Is that "dangerous"?

But more important is the little-mentioned fact surrounding Roethlisberger's crash: His motorcycle permit had expired when he never took the proper tests by March. That means he was riding illegally, without a helmet, and - contrary to what he said he does - by himself. He's very lucky, because he was being very stupid.

Teams shouldn't have to have clauses banning dangerous activity. Players should be smart enough to know what they shouldn't be doing. Riding as Roethlisberger did is just plain old dumb.


  1. IIRC, the Yankees voided Aaron Boone's contract because he heard his knee playing basketball, when it was expicitly stated in his contract he couldn't do that. I know he's with Cleveland (good game last night!), but I think that's what happened.

  2. That's true. But that's a different example (which maybe I should have discussed). They don't want their players playing contact sports which have a good likelihood of causing injury because they are so physical in nature, in addition to the effect they have on the person's body (different sports use different body parts, hence the reluctance to let someone play 2 sports though many are athletic enough to do so).

  3. It's on a team-by-team basis. The Yankees are a dictatorship, a police state, the Evil Empire. They have rules regarding hair and appearance because that's who they are.

    Aaron F*@k!%g Boone.

    The Steelers obviously aren't like that. Other teams aren't, either. Take the USA World Cup team. They have been getting heat for allowing their players' families to stay with them in Germany. The players love it, feeling like they are treated "like men." European teams think that is asinine and don't let their players stand up at dinner until they are told they can do so. Depends on the atmosphere the owner and coach are trying to imbue in their team.

    Big Ben's judgement is seriously lacking... but, we already knew that given his tendencies to force the ball like Brett Favre but with a Chad Pennington arm. Zing.

  4. Croak - LOL. For just about all of that.

    Interesting point about the World Cup... though I'm sure there are people pointing to this while noting their 3-0 wipeout.

  5. It's not Ben's fault. Cowher was real mastermind behind it all!

    Breaking News on the Roethlisberger Accident

    I told you so!!

  6. I'm sorry, I'm with Crier, this guy is an idiot. Aside from the fact that he is probably looked at as a hero and role model by so many kids from Pittsburgh he is also gambling with many peoples monies. His own as well. sure he should be allowed to do whatever he wants, but even from a personal standpoint, is this guy a nutjob? He'd rather ride davka without a helmet and risk millions of future dollars then just be careful?

    The message this sends to teenagers everywhere is if you want to be REALLY cool then ride without a helmet? I hope the NFL does something to counter all his bad press. They should make him do promos for using a helmet.

    What a freakin moron.

  7. Analyzer - Heh.

    Chaim - Lost you on 'with Crier'... I agree, Roethlisberger was a moron. I just don't think that warrants the NFL making special clauses about it...

  8. No, they shouldn't have a dangerous clause, but they should have an IDIOT CLAUSE!! This guy drives a motorcycle without a helmet, and he gets into a serious accident and is almost killed. Hmmm... DUH!!! I thought it was against the law to ride a cycle without a helmet, but every state is probably different. No-one would say a word about adding clauses if he had worn a helment. Oh that's right... maybe, that's because he wouldnt have gotten seriously injured if had just.been.wearing.a.helmet!! I hope that what will come out of this incident will be that every state will pass a law that requires every motor-cycle rider and their passengers to wear a helmet. That's the only good that can come out of some-one doing something so freakin' stupid!

  9. It's weird, because PA *did* have a law and then repealed it. Did they have statistics on it?

    Regardless, it's sad that we need idiot clauses.

  10. Really?!? Well, the state of PA has issues. Ya know, Ben, they call motorcycle riders organ donors for a reason!

  11. OC - Heh. But I don't think he reads my blog :P