Judy Battista of the NEW YORK TIMES reports today that the company that produced beef jerky endorsed by Ben Roethlisberger has moved to drop its contract with the quarterback.
(Roethlisberger no longer Soft! Tender!)
Ty Ballou, owner of Pittsburgh-based PLB Sports, Inc., confirmed the news to Battista and made clear that Roethlisberger’s offseason problems led him to the decision.
“We’ve made a lot of money together. I’m leaving a lot on the table by terminating this contract. Even thought there were no criminal charges, there are just enough issues here that it’s the best interests of PLB Sports to break ties.
“I can’t imagine anyone touching Ben Roethlisberger. Enough is enough. I hope there is a suspension. At some point in time, Ben has got to put himself in the right position and understand what it means to be a celebrity, a quarterback, a Steelers player.
Ballou told Darren Rovell of CNBC that he was comfortable breaking his contract with Roethlisberger because of a morals clause in the deal.
“We have a morals clause in the contract. We met with with our attorneys this morning and we feel like we have the right language to be able to terminate him.”
Will Roethlisberger fight the termination or look for a settlement? I wouldn’t think so, as that would give Ballou’s lawyers license to dig up Big Ben’s past. Would imagine he’ll go quietly on this one.
Ballou also noted that the damage Roethlisberger has done extends beyond his business.
“The Steelers, there is probably no prouder organization. I feel for them right now. Players are part of the Steelers brand. If it’s not the biggest in the league, it’s well up there. This has diminished the brand.”
Roethlisberger is still currently under contract with Nike, a deal in which he figures to make at least seven figures annually. Nike, which also has an endorsement deal with off-field-troubled Tiger Woods, has yet to make a public statement about the status of its business relationship with the quarterback.
If we get more stories like we got from a Boston attorney this morning about a possible additional incident involving Roethlisberger in Vegas six months ago, I don’t think this will be the last deal the quarterback will lose.