The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s radio show is a legitimate concern for the organization.
Explanation: Ben Roethlisberger has participated in a weekly in-season radio show for years now, and while it has occasionally resulted in comments that have made headlines in the past, that really escalated last season, drawing criticism from the media and former teammates, and reportedly, even within the locker room.
Ultimately, my concern with Roethlisberger’s radio show rests with how it is received within the locker room. I don’t care what some member of the media who has never been a part of the team—or often any sports team at all—has to say about it, because their opinions don’t matter.
The opinions that matter are the ones of the guys in the huddle on the field, and on the coaching staff and in the front office. And if those opinions are at odds with one another. The front office, in the former of General Manager Kevin Colbert, has pretty much already given Roethlisberger the right to speak his mind.
The second part of the discussion is harder to pin down, but I have seen more than one report, be it a Tweet or otherwise, from local reporters—people who are in the locker room—speaking to players off the record who suggested that it bothered them or other players. If that is the case, then the show is a problem.
Here’s the thing, though. People can talk to one another. Even if we assume it is the case that some players have a problem with Roethlisberger’s show, and more specifically some of the things that he days on it, I find it hard to believe that most of the issues can’t be resolved through a conversation. One that starts with some variation of “I don’t appreciate what you said”.
Everybody in the NFL is an adult, and it would be great if they could all behave like it, even if the general manager referred to them as kids. Addressing a problem goes a long way toward solving it. And believe it or not, Roethlisberger can still do the show without saying controversial things.