In a recent Peter King hodgepodge of minutiae from Sports Illustrated, King inserted a parenthetical "Steelers" inside a quote by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell making it appear as if a dozen Steelers lacked support in the beleaguered quarterback. Now, the King of Sports Hacks is backpedalling.
King's quote now reads, "Regarding Roethlisberger, Goodell said when he was investigating what to do with the quarterback, he talked to "I bet two dozen players ... Not one, not a single player, went to his defense. It wasn't personal in a sense, but all kinds of stories like, 'He won't sign my jersey.'"
That is a huge difference. By inserting the parenthetical, King made it appear that twelve of fifty-three teammates had issues with Roethlisberger. That's 22%. Instead, Goodell was referring to the entire 1696-man roster of the NFL. That's less than 1%. Not only that, but the mainstream media picked up the story and ran with it, painting their own sordid picture of a team that no longer trusted their quarterback because of his off-field behaviour. Some "reporters" and bloggers even took the word "Steelers" out of the parentheses! Clearly they didn't read to the end of the quote. Goodell was referring to players who didn't like Ben because of silly shit like not signing a jersey. I wonder how many of those players came from the AFC North? Seems like badmouthing Ben would be the perfect opportunity to rid your division of one of it's most talented players for a few weeks…
Now I'm not defending Roethlisberger's alleged actions in Milledgeville because I don't really need to. There are no charges and there is no case. He spent his first four games of the season at home twiddling his thumbs so the matter is closed. But King's irresponsible sensationalism has no defense and it's simply another notch in Sports Illustrated's decline over the last decade. (The only enjoyment I got out of my last few issues was counting the typos and grammatical errors, and yes, I know my own writing is filled with these, but I'm not a multi-million dollar entity with a dozen "professional" editors behind me.)
Oh, sure, King was Peter-On-The-Spot with his "apology," as if he had expected the eventual blowback and written it in advance, but to release this "story" during Superbowl Media Week was nothing short of a personal attack. Hey, I'm all for opinions, but if you're going to try to start some shit, at least have the balls to do it as a full story and not as a casual aside in a monday morning trivia dump.
Oh, and King is not alone in this. Fingers are pointed at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for breathing life back into a dying story. During the investigation, no one was more transparent than Godell about just how closed the doors would be. So why, months later and just before Ben's team takes the field in Superbowl 45, would Goodell unlock the door and destroy the credibility of his word by releasing information revealed to him in confidence regardless of whether it was germane to the issue?
I'm sure Goodell related that little tidbit to King "off the record" but how smart is that? I understand Goodell wants to gossip about the League's dirty little secrets –what's the point in having secrets if you can't tell them to someone– but to gossip with Sports Illustrated's most well known scribbler? This does not bode well for the CBA agreement.
This whole thing seems like it was a tandem act meant to sell magazines, malign the Steelers organization and assassinate the character of Ben Roethlisberger which he has worked hard to rebuild. I guess Goodell wasn't happy with the little doghouse that he put Ben Roethlisberger in and decided to add on an addition, and he got his little dog-walker Peter King to yank the chain.