Andrea McNulty, the woman who has sued Ben Roethlisberger for allegedly raping her last year, has had her credibility and motivations called into question many times since her lawsuit was filed in July. But now, in an attempt to make her seem both less crazy and less of a gold digger, she has offered to withdraw the lawsuit.
Oh, if it were only that simple. As you’ll see, McNulty’s “offer” may seem like a noble pursuit, but it stipulates that Big Ben do the one thing he’ll never, ever do. So, without further ado, here are the three conditions for having the lawsuit dropped:
1) He admits to raping her.
2) He apologizes, in written form, for making what she deems “false allegations” against her in public after the lawsuit was filed.
3) He donates $100,000 to a charity that aids abused women.
The offer was filed in court last week and made public yesterday. According to the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, there was no set deadline listed to take the offer, other than the admission and apology were supposed to take place “within five days.”
So, what to make of this? McNulty’s lawyers say the offer proves that she’s not in this for the money. But her proposition is one that Roethlisberger can and will never accept, so what is it accomplishing? There’s zero chance that Ben even read past #1 on the list. There’s no way he’ll ever publicly admit to assaulting her, even if he actually did it. Becoming an admitted rapist would basically end his football career.
(I guess Big Ben could fall back on this. He can’t be any worse than Daly.)
The donation to charity is a convenient way to make McNulty look like the bigger person in this, but since it comes with a stipulation that could never happen it’s an empty gesture. When Ben declines this offer, McNulty’s lawyers get to claim that he not only isn’t taking responsibility for his actions, but also passed up a chance to help abused women. They’re putting the pressure on, knowing that his concern (and the NFL’s concern) over his image will play a big role in whatever settlement he agrees to.
In other words, it’s step one in the negotiation process. If anything, the offer just demonstrates that McNulty is ready to bargain. Expect that Roethlisberger’s official response will be “no” on points 1 and 2, but that the donation could be arranged if she’s willing to take a couple hundred grand for herself to go away, naturally with the understanding that Ben will make no admission of guilt whatsoever.
ESPN, I suspect, will have nothing to say about any of this (NOTE: It looks like I’m wrong about this, as “Sportscenter” just ran a blurb at the top of the hour reporting that Roethlisberger’s lawyer has indeed declined the offer.)
(You’re not necessary, Lester Munson. We’ll call you next time an NFLer shoots himself.)
Speaking of ESPN: The other night, on the 30th anniversary of ESPN’s launch, ESPN Classic showed, in its entirety, the first half-hour program shown on the network. It wasn’t exactly a “Sportscenter,” but more of an explanation of how the channel would work and why such a network was a good idea . Lee Leonard, who moved to CNN just a year later, hosted the show along with George Grande, who was the first “Sportscenter” anchor (and is now the play-by-play man for the Cincinnati Reds).
(Lee Leonard was against the BCS before you were born.)
A few things stuck out, like the fact that the first actual sporting event shown on ESPN was a slow-pitch softball game. But the one thing that struck me the most was when Leonard was joined on the set by NCAA president Bill Flynn, who talked about how great it would be that sports like college swimming and volleyball would be on TV regularly for the first time (and we know how big those sports have become in the last 30 years). Leonard, however, couldn’t resist pressing Flynn on one matter (and I’m paraphrasing):
“Bill, you have this wonderful tournament every year to crown a national champion in basketball. Why can’t you do that with football?”
And here we are, 30 years later, still asking the same question. Flynn gave a vague answer, citing the integrity of the bowl system, that controversy is good for the sport, yadda, yadda, yadda. Now this was back when there were only 12 bowl games, so there was some prestige in even making the postseason. But the discussion was almost exactly the same as what you would hear now, and it’s a sobering reminder that we’re no closer to a playoff in college football than we were in 1979.
(We’ve spent 30 fruitless years trying to get a college football playoff, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.)
ESPN’s Marc Stein reported last night that it’s looking increasingly likely that the NBA will not reach a new deal with its referees in time for the beginning of the preseason. The refs’ contract expired on September 1st, and the NBA wants them to take a 10% pay cut, which amounts to a total of $3.2 million. The refs have countered with a proposal for a $2.5 million reduction, which isn’t all that much of a gap to bridge. I can’t imagine that this won’t get figured out by the start of the regular season. But if not, who calls the games? Can I do it?
(We’re getting closer to having a bunch of clowns officiating NBA games, unless the league locks them out and hires replacements.)
• I tell you, is there a more thrilling sporting event in the world than the Tour of Missouri? I actually thought this was a made-up event, or that “Missouri” in this case was some exotic European locale. But no, it’s all too real. Here’s photo evidence. Though you might want to focus on the Dairy Queen sign, which looks to have been altered by some local jokers:
• The U.S. can basically clinch a World Cup berth with a win tonight, but they’ll have to beat both Trinidad and Tobago to do it.
• A 16-year-old Australian girl is attempting to become the youngest person to do a solo circumnavigation of the world. Why this might not be the best idea? She crashed into another boat on her first day at sea.
• The Cubs tied an MLB record with eight consecutive hits to start their game with the Pirates last night. Then Lou Piniella didn’t even give Ryan Dempster the chance to set the record and had him lay down a bunt.
• The Pirates may have set a record for futility, which is perhaps the only reason the Orioles aren’t getting more heat for their 12th straight losing season, which was ensured with a 10-0 loss to the Red Sox last night.
• As if your tickets don’t already cost enough, you can literally take it in the rear when you go to the Yankees game today.
• Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham isn’t going to play at all this season.
• What does $5,000 get you these days? In the CFL, the opportunity to file a protest and try to get the end of your game replayed because you think the refs screwed you over.
• The city of Memphis needs to make some extra money to keep the Liberty Bowl open, so they sold beer at a regular season game for the first time when Memphis hosted Ole Miss on Sunday. And they made over $100,000 — 40% of the total amount they hoped to make on beer for the whole season.
• After Rafael Nadal beat Gael Monfils yesterday, some dude came out of the stands and gave Rafa a kiss. And now is going to have plenty of time to kiss other guys in his cell block.
• GAME ON says three LPGA golfers are taking it all off for ESPN THE MAGAZINE’s “bodies” issue, which comes out in October. The tantalizing trio? The svelte Sandra Gal and Anna Grzebien, and the not-so-svelte Christina Kim. Here’s Duke alum Grzebien, who has already done her share of modeling: