The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Too Early to Tell

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How does it go? "Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend?" At this point, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is one accusation away from at least the hint of sexual assault tied to his name forever. And when his team has tied its future to him to the tune of an eight-year, $102 million contract signed in 2008, that becomes a problem. The fans have turned, the tea is preparing for life without their franchise quarterback, and it's looking more and more like Roethlisberger could be in real trouble here. Add with the recent lawsuit filed against Santonio Holmes for assault and battery, the two men who combined for the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII have more difficult and serious concerns all of a sudden.

Does it take the luster away from the Steelers as an organization? I'm not sure it does. The Falcons were widely viewed as a joke during the Vick/Petrino era, but it took just one year of a complete front office overhaul and great draft picks to make that franchise an example of how to get it right. And as serious as these allegations are -- especially the mounting tide against Roethlisberger -- I don't know how that reflects on the Steelers, unless he had a history of doing things like this and the team had a hand in covering it up. And there's no evidence of that. If we're talking about a situation like the Oregon football team, where arrest after arrest happens and there's obviously an indulgent environment in place ... well, that's a different matter. With the Steelers, I don't think we're there yet.

At a certain point, the Rooney family will take some hits if Roethlisberger and Holmes are found guilty of the charges against them. But we're a long way from that, and I think it's a mistake to tag the franchise with the alleged actions of two of its players -- no matter how serious the charges may be.

By Doug Farrar  |  March 30, 2010; 8:41 AM ET  | Category:  Atlanta Falcons , Ben Roethlisberger , Crime , Doug Farrar , Michael Vick , NFL , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Will offseason trouble linger in Pittsburgh? | Next: Taking the good with the bad

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