Dirty Weekend

I was sure when I woke up this morning that I would hear about the Academy Awards on the radio, even ESPN Radio.  Instead as I sat down to breakfast, I heard Mike and Mike talking about Big Ben.  It turns out it was not a good weekend to be a PittsburgH sports fan.

The first thing I heard was that Steelers’ quarterback Ben Rothlisberger was being investigated for sexual assault again.  At first I thought they might be reopening the Colorado case, but it turns out it was in Georgia this time.  Despite not being particularly fond of the Steelers or people who ride motorcycles without helmets, I remember backing Big Ben* when the Colorado case came along.  The information released about it said the case had no evidence.  I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt in an innocent-until-proven-guilty kind of way, especially since it was the first time I had heard anything bad about his behavior, aside from the helmet thing.  It was also just over a year after charges were dropped in the Duke lacrosse case.**  Now Ben’s in a similar situation to before.  This time, the accusation is sexual assault and not rape, but it’s still a sex crime.  The accuser went to the hospital and then the police that night – instead of waiting a year and filing a civil suit without reporting it to the police – so there should be evidence this time if it did happen.  It’s possible that Big Ben is just an idiot for being a high-profile figure who gets himself into situations where he can be accused of sex crimes, but it’s starting to look more like he’s scum.  I’ll hold out on making a final judgment until the case develops though.

The other bit of news out of PittsburgH’s sporting establishment involves a hit – video embedded in linked story – during a Penguins-Bruins game.  I’ve heard a couple of people say it was a clean hit that resulted in the need for a stretcher for the Bruin.  I’ve heard a lot more say it was illegal.  After seeing the hit a number of times, I don’t think it was an illegal hit, but it was far from being clean.  The tell-tale of an illegal hit to the head would be lifting the elbow.  Matt Cooke clearly hit Marc Savard with his upper arm and shoulder.  Although the hit was legal, Cooke eyed his way right to Savard’s head when Savard was looking towards the goal and could not see Cooke coming.  He even leaned his body to follow through with the hit.  Had he skated a foot to his left, it would have been body-on-body contact, still legal, and there would be no debate today.  Instead Cooke aimed for the head, which I believe is one of the dirtiest plays in hockey, even if it’s not always illegal.  Given Cooke’s two previous suspensions for dirty hits, I feel he intended the hit he laid on Savard.  The NHL is not above suspending or fining players for dirty-but-not-illegal hits under professional conduct clauses in contracts.  They’ve done it before, and I believe they should this time as well.  Meanwhile, while the owners are trying to figure out ways to increase scoring at the next meeting, they should take a minute to come up with a rule banning blind side hits to the head.  The NHLPA would have a hard time with public relations if they tried stopping that rule from passing after Cooke’s hit.

In a bit of dirty play not involving PittsburgH, Carl Edwards did exactly what everybody was led to believe was being encouraged.  In January, NASCAR’s VP of Competition infamously told drivers “Boys, have at it,” after saying NASCAR was loosing its rules regarding contact between cars.  It was widely understood that what Robin Pemberton was saying was that bump drafting was being allowed again and that trading paint would be encouraged to make racing more exciting.  Carl Edwards did precisely what everybody thought was being encouraged and with dramatic results.  Brad Keselowski was involved in a wreck that sent Edwards to the garage and 100 laps down in the race.  Edwards came back onto the track near the end of the race, took aim at Keselowski’s car, and gave him a bump that sent him airborne.  After the race, Edwards said, “Brad knows the deal between him and I… The scary part is that his car went airborne, which is not at all what I expected.”  He later clarified on facebook that the hit was intentional but that he only intended to send a message to Keselowski, not send him into the sky.  Keselowski, who is no stranger to causing wrecks, suggested, after he regained his senses, that NASCAR needs to reign in the hitting.

*I hate typing his last name.  In fact, I’m sure that’s how he got his nickname to begin with.
**That is probably the only time I will feel bad for anybody associated with Duke University.

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2 Comments on “Dirty Weekend”

  1. Newt Says:

    First, the Cooke hit. I was watching that game, and it was a clean hit. Unfortunate, but clean.
    As for Ben, I wish he would just stay home and stay away from this type of chick. I’m assuming she’s just a drunk whore who fooled around with someone, then sobered up and regretted it. Because think about this: good girls don’t go to clubs and follow men they don’t know into the VIP section.

    • Andrew Says:

      I still think the hit was legal but dirty. The first couple times I watched it, I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was, but then I looked at how his head was turned and how he pushed his shoulder forward through the hit.

      If Ben is going to go around drinking heavily and sleeping with random women, he should figure out some way of staying out of trouble while doing it or get a security team that will actually look out for his interests by keeping him from doing stupid stuff.

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