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The Pig Factor

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Have you noticed the gender gap when it comes to the Super Bowl?

Ask any woman outside a 25-mile radius of Pittsburgh what team she is rooting for and she will most likely to answer: the Green Bay Packers.

In truth, she's not so much rooting for the Packers, as she is rooting against the Steelers because of their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Ben Use This.jpgThey don't want to see him win because he is a Pig.

There are other words that could apply: spoiled, lout, bully, serial sexual predator.

In sum, though, they add up to the word Pig. Women know one when they see one.

And they would hate to see a Pig win the year's biggest game.

In the Sports pages, not much is made these days of Roethlisberger pigness.  The sports media did report the facts of his case - the accusations of sexual assault on a 20-year-old college student in a bar in Georgia, the decision by the local DA not to prosecute, the four-game suspension leveled by the NFL for conduct unbecoming even a football player - but the arc of the story has changed since Roethlisberger returned to lead his team to the Super Bowl.
Someone once said that football is
America's religion. If it is, then winning is absolution.

As long as you make a public Act of Contrition ("I am sorry for the pain I may have caused my family, my fans and my teammates.") then forgiveness will follow -- as long as you win.

In fact, the sports commentators have taken to implying that for Roethlisberger

winning represents personal redemption. That victory has somehow made him a better man. Even if it doesn't, his athletic ability trumps his actions off the field. So why dwell on them?

Ask Michael Vick. Though, in fairness to Vick, he had to serve real time in a real jail on his dog-mistreatment conviction before he could seek redemption. Vick was just named comeback player of the year in the NFL.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods' reputation lingers in limbo partly because he hasn't been winning since his return to golf. His sins (serial infidelity, coupled with breathtaking hypocrisy) still are a stain. He needs to win a Masters or a U.S. Open before he is redeemed.

Only after Tiger wrecked his car and his marriage unraveled in the ugliest possible public way, did sports writers begin to reveal that Tiger was not the sunny, good guy he was always portrayed as. In reality, he was considered something of a shit and very much disliked by other players on the tour.

So, women won't be rooting for the Steelers in the Super Bowl.  They know that if the Steelers win and Roethlisberger ends the night holding the championship trophy, he will have achieved full redemption in our (us guys) eyes.

They know, though, that victory has not made Ben Roethlisberger a better man. They know that he was a Pig before and remains a Pig, albeit a talented one.
They know too much about men to be fooled by this victory as redemption stuff.

 

 -- TF

 

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