I know this is going to come as a shock to some people, but believe it or not, members of the Pittsburgh Steelers did not actually rob their former teammate, running back Le’Veon Bell, while a dozen or more members of the media were present, many of them filming the incident and asking them questions, conversing with them all along.
I found it pretty startling that even a number of professional and amateur journalists took the videos, provided by the likes of Jeremy Fowler of Steelers players trying on sneakers that remained in Bell’s locker room since he was lack in there during the winter, to actually represent authentic acts of felony.
I mean, don’t you think that Burt Lauten might have stepped in if that were the case? Bucky Brooks? Mike Florio? Probably dozens of others? No? The Steelers just let crimes happen?
As Chris Adamski wrote yesterday, the team’s equipment staff officially cleaned out Bell’s locker on Thursday after his former teammates did so informally the day prior. “The mood, on the whole, was tongue-in-cheek, and multiple players said no valuables or personal belongings were taken”, he wrote, echoing the thoughts of everybody who was, you know, actually there.
Fowler himself provided an update on Twitter yesterday, saying that multiple players told him that Bell’s items were “packed up, placed in the back and likely shipped to Bell”. He also quoted Mike Hilton as saying, “now, everybody can really get past it”. Aditi Kinkhabwala also poked fun at the absurdity of the situation.
For anybody who has actually followed and covered the team, it seemed obvious exactly what was happening. It was a locker room that was both lamenting the reality of the situation while celebrating its resolution, now that there was official confirmation that Bell would not be joining the team in 2018, and therefore likely will never be with them again.
For the previous five seasons, Bell had been one of the most central figures on the team and one of the primary contributors to their success on the field. There are eight players on the roster who had been here for the entirety of his career, and many others for the majority of it.
He was a teammate and a friend, and many have continued to echo that he was a good teammate and that they still like him and wish him the best—including Bud Dupree, who was featured in one of the infamous videos thanking Bell for the sneakers as he tried them on.
This was closure for a brotherhood that is on a central mission, only to find that a key member of their group abandoned them just as they were about to set off. Some remained hopeful that at some point along the way he would show up, but he never did.
The Steelers weren’t taking Bell’s sneakers. They were taking the narrative back and putting the past in the past. No crimes were committed in the making of this article, just as there were none in the videos the local media spread from Wednesday’s jovial locker room session.