Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Lay Off the Thrills, Buddy

I was going to start my series of entries about Jewish summer camp, but I got seriously distracted by current events. No, not Zarqawi or bombings in Israel or Tropical Storm Alberto-- Ben Roethlisberger.

Yep. That Ben Roethlisberger.

For those of you not up on American football news, Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback Roethlisberger was involved in a motorcycle accident a few days ago (Sports Illustrated has a full list of the player's injuries). Roethlisberger has been upgraded to "fair" condition, which bodes well for his recovery to playing condition. The franchise has yet to determine his career future.

Frankly, I don't care about his playing ability. Sure, I'm a Pennsylvanian and I cheered for the Steelers during the Bowl, but whether the kid can ever throw a ball again isn't foremost on my mind. What does irritate me, however, is the fact that Roethlisberger was not wearing a helmet. Not only that, he is not even licensed to operate a motorcycle in the state of Pennsylvania!

Listen up, athletes. You sign contracts for millions of dollars per game with huge franchises for the express purpose of entertaining millions of fans. The football fanatics turn up to games, buy your jerseys, which provides billions of dollars to the franchises. So, in all but the legal sense, you, as a professional football player, are owned by both football fans and franchises. You are obliged to not take such idiotic risks. It is irresponsible not to.

So, Mr. Roethlisberger, I suggest that you think very carefully before taking anymore unnecessary risks. Your value to any professional team with drop precipitously if they believe that they can't count on you. Advertising spots will dwindle away as your bench time exceeds your playing time. Finally, even your fans will abandon you to follow bigger and brighter prospects.

Sounds peachy, right?

Sorry to be harsh, but the sooner you find that out, the better.


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