The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for Fanhouse.com

Short memory spans

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I have a problem with this topic.

I have a problem because I have no first-hand knowledge (or second-hand for that matter) about what happened in the cases of Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes other than I know that the Pittsburgh Steelers have disinvited their quarterback to offseason workouts pending the outcome of the investigation in Georgia into allegations that he assaulted a 20-year-old college student.

And I have a problem because we media types are now in the business of making sweeping generalizations even before we know for sure what happend, such as whether the Steelers have lost their luster because of the allegations against Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes.

Which I guess makes me an old fogey.

Look, the media spotlight is on every celebrity today. It's even on me -- I write for AOL Fanhouse and the comments posted after the things I write run the gamut from praise to questions about my sanity and my ethnic heritage. I can take it, but it's strange to be the critiqued instead of the critiquer after 40 years of insulation.

But...

Back to the Steelers.

The Roethlisberger and Holmes episodes -- Holmes is alleged in the civil suit to have assaulted a woman in an Orlando night club -- put the Steelers under the spotlight because they are both a landmark NFL franchise and a winner. Roethlisberger threw the winning touchdown pass in the 2009 Super Bowl to Holmes with 35 seconds left and Holmes was voted the MVP meaning ...

Well, Plaxico Burress, who caught the winning TD pass with 37 seconds left the year before for the Giants is currently in a New York jail for a gun violation and the Giants aren't under a cloud other than for their disinterested defense at the end of last season that led to an 8-8 record. The Steelers missed the playoffs too.

Nor is off-field trouble new for Pittsburgh just as it's not new for most sports franchises.

In early 2008, James Harrison and Cedrick Wilson both were involved with domestic abuse cases. The Steelers cut Wilson, a backup receiver and kept Harrison, who went on to be the 2008 defensive player of the year, ">leading to suggestions that there were different standards for different players depending on their skill level. The team won the Super Bowl that season.

I don't know if the Steelers will win this season. Frankly, I have only lukewarm expectations for them.

But that's on the field.

As for their image...

Everything about Harrison and Wilson went away long before Pittsburgh won two years ago. The stuff about Holmes and Roethlisberger probably will go away more slowly because the quarterback's involved and Roger Goodell wants to talk to him.

Still, in modern journalism, the memory span is short. That's likely to hold for the Steelers.

Even Cincinnati is an old joke these days.

By Dave Goldberg  |  March 30, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Ben Roethlisberger , Crime , NFL , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Reputation at stake | Next: Will offseason trouble linger in Pittsburgh?

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