Many have learned the hard way that drawing the attention of Donald Trump often does not lead to a positive outcome when it comes to the billionaire’s outspoken tendency to speak his mind, particularly when he has an issue with somebody. That has recently pertained to political matters, but he has run a broad spectrum over the decades.
Not all who fall within his sphere of association are the subject of his criticism, however, and one such individual actually just so happens to be Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, whom Trump recently publicly cited, along with Tom Brady, as possible candidates to address the Republican National Convention to be held in Cleveland next month.
Roethlisberger, an avid fan of golf, has evidently run into Trump a time or two on the links; however, the two-time Super Bowl champion suggests that that is as far as his acquaintance with presumptive Republican presidential nominee goes, telling Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that “he will not attend the Republican convention and will nor [sic] endorse nor speak for the candidate”, as the esteemed beat writer Tweeted on Saturday.
It is certainly not a surprising move for Roethlisberger, who has historically preferred to keep a low profile, and has worked diligently over the course of the past several years to sort of improve his public image. Nowadays, I’m certain that he is much more content to draw headlines for birth announcements and charity events and donations, a far cry from earlier in his career.
One would also imagine that, as much as the Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin might have a fairly liberal (in the thoroughly non-political sense) policy with respect to how they monitor the nature in which their players represent themselves, that they might not be thrilled about the idea of one of their players throwing their hat into the political ring, one way or the other.
It would be a notable omission, however, to fail to point out the fact that the Steelers have not been routinely apolitical. Team chairman emeritus Dan Rooney actively campaigned on behalf of Barack Obama during the 2008 election as well as donating to aid his campaign, and was later appointed as the US ambassador to Ireland, the country from which the Rooney family, of course, originates. He also considered resigning his ambassadorship for the follow-up election to help him campaign again. He officially resigned in December 2012 following the election.
Regardless of one’s political persuasion, Trump did call Roethlisberger a “winner”, and that is always a good word to have thrown at your quarterback. Obviously, it is preferable to being referred to as one of a long list of “losers”.
To be absolutely and abundantly clear, this is an apolitical post in no way intended to draw out a political discussion, nor does it offer any personal opinions of a political nature. It is simply relaying the information that Roethlisberger has elected, perhaps wisely, not to engage in the political process in a public sphere. The Republican National Convention is, after all, in Cleveland of all places, where the Cavaliers use Roethlisberger’s face to get the crowd worked up in a cascade of boos.