While he knew that it would hold personal significance, I’m sure that Ben Roethlisberger had no idea that it would be worthy of CNN coverage that he began throwing ‘legit NFL passes’ again to his teammates. And I’m equally confident that he had no idea the trimming of his beard would be a major source of controversy. Or, at least, a mild one.
While he has gotten some criticism, I feel that most have been generally supportive, especially after his barber came out and made it clear that his shop was not actually open. One of Roethlisberger’s defenders was Jason Whitlock, who went so far as to say that the Pennsylvania mayor “should shut the hell up” after he expressed concern about the barbering featured in his hype video.
“I’m like a lot of people in this country. I’m ready to go, and consequences be damned, and I say that in all seriousness”, Whitlock said. “My barber comes over here and cuts my hair. He’s been meeting people at his shop, a very popular shop in Los Angeles, and cutting their hair, no different than what Big Ben and his barber were doing”.
I actually know people who have had a barber come to their house and cut their hair. This does not come without risks, however. There was a recent story of a barber in New York who was doing the same thing, and recently tested positive for coronavirus. Now every person to whom he has given a haircut has to be concerned about whether or not they’re infected, and who they might have affected as a result.
“I look at this barber, I look at what Ben’s doing here in throwing some shine on his barber, and I think that’s their little, subtle way of protesting, like, hey man, we’ve all sat around and thought about the consequences and the time we’re in”, Whitlock said. “We are ready to move on. We can’t live in fear for the rest of their lives”.
I think Whitlock is completely wrong when he suggests that Roethlisberger intended anything by this. As is often the case, it’s far more likely that he simply wasn’t thinking about the potential implications of him showing himself in a barber’s chair, because he self-admittedly just says what he’s thinking.
Roethlisberger wasn’t wrong for simply getting a haircut from a barber friend in a closed barber shop. However, it was in the realm of the naïve to post a video including himself in a barber’s chair and then to allow a story to be conducted talking about the barber shop.
At the least, it is poor optics, and the proof of that is the subsequent controversy that it fostered. It clearly made people think that he was defying orders, which, at least according to their account, they weren’t. Still have to be more conscious of the narrative you’re putting out when you’re a public figure.