Last Saturday I noted a blog post from 30-year Pittsburgh sports media member John Steigerwald. In the piece, Steigerwald called Ben Roethlisberger a “punk” and a “jackass“, intimated the quarterback might’ve been high on drugs the night of his alleged sexual assault and relayed a story about Roethlisberger blowing off a Make-A-Wish kid.
(The I-Team scares out Big Ben’s old, moldy zoning violations!)
Along with the charges pending against Roethlisberger, Steigerwald’s piece may have signaled a dam break in the Pittsburgh media, which has apparently long covered for a quarterback untrained in the art of basic decency.
Another sign of that might be WPXI-TV Pittsburgh reporter Alan Jennings‘ semi-irrelevant piece today about how in June, 2008, Roethlisberger broke zoning rules by erecting a fence 24 inches too high in his neighborhood.
The premise of the piece was to discredit longtime Roethlisberger associate, Pittsburgh-area police officer Anthony Barravecchio.
As I noted yesterday, Barravecchio, who was with Roethlisberger the night in question, has denied that he was the quarterback’s “bodyguard” that evening. An evening in which a witness stated that two of Roethlisberger’s “bodyguards” were “guarding” a bathroom door of the nightclub.
Jennings notes in the TV piece that Barravecchio represented himself to a zoning board in 2008 as the man in charge of keeping Roethlisberger’s property secure. Hence the story about the fence and intimation that Barravecchio is misrepresenting his relationship with Roethlisberger.
Obviously Jennings is trying to nail Barravecchio to the floorboards as one of Roethlisberger’s “bodyguards” in Milledgeville, which could be considered somewhat relevant to the sexual assault case.
But the road the Pittsburgh TV reporter takes us down appears, at least to me, more about embarrassing Roethlisberger and Barravecchio than solving a great mystery. At this point, it kinda goes without saying that Barravecchio was at the bar to watch the quarterback’s back. If this thing goes to trial, Barravecchio will be part of the process regardless of the semantics.
That’s not to say that I’m any fan of Roethlisberger and that he doesn’t perhaps deserve some payback by the Pittsburgh media. But this probably wasn’t the way to do it.