Tag:whatever happened to journalistic integrity?
Posted on: February 4, 2011 6:20 am


Recently on this site, Will Brinson decided to devote some time to chastising Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for an evening out earlier in the week at a Dallas dueling piano bar with some of his linemen.  Now Will has given equal ... ummm... opportunity to say...to Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.  Yes, Will actually did a bed check on the young quarterback.  Like many others, I just shook my head and said "this is reporting?". 

However, Will uses these "incidents" to site whether or not there would be distractions.  Well, it's possible, but...

Bear with me while I recount somethings... 

After the loss to Cleveland in 2009, then Steelers wide receive Santonio Holmes had tweeted how he was heading to Florida for the weekend. Steelers Wide Receiver Hines Ward posted how he had to get away and was planning on spending time that weekend with his child.  In both instances Steelers fans were quick to lash out at the two saying they should be practicing.  My thought process was, let them decompress, let them come back fresh.  That next Sunday was probably one of the most exciting games that we witnessed from the Steelers that season.  It was..ahem...against the Green Bay Packers.  Remember that game Will?  800 plus yds combined and over 70 points put up on the board?  Despite the fans believing that the weekend down time would provide a distraction, it didn't. 

Fast forward a year and several weeks later, pictures surface of Ben Roethlisberger and some linemen in a piano bar singing Karaoke with stories about how he bought the bar a round.  Not the patrons in a roped off VIP section, but the bar.  It must have really sucked to have to report that he was singing Karaoke in a dueling piano bar and not "making it rain" at some strip club.  It must have sucked even more to have to report that nothing occurred.  What sucked for me was seeing the media spin the "what could have happened" angle despite already knowing that the "what could have" didn't occur.  (Ah yellow journalism at it's finest).

Still despite the stories, Will seems to like to hold on that this night out could create a distraction for the Steelers the day of the Superbowl.  And had they literally had to carry Ben out of the bar where he'd have a hangover that lasted oh...from Wednesday morning to Sunday...then yeah, you may say it could.  Had we had pictures of Ben out on the town on Wednesday night and Thursday night, then yeah it could be a distraction.  However, I can point to why Will is rather off base with this one. 

- It's not unknown for Ben to go out with his linemen on a night during the week.  This has been reported in the Pittsburgh papers, so it's common knowledge (and not an excuse that Ben's making up).  It didn't seem to be a distraction for them during the regular season.  Remember they are in the Superbowl and not sitting at home. 

- There were no reports of any of the players seeming to be a little "off" in practice the next day.  If one night out was going to have an effect it would have been noticable the next day...and would have been reported on, yet where were the reports. 

- The argument of "well it's the big game and they need to do things differently" doesn't hold water.  We've seen what happens to teams that change up the way they do something because "it's" the big game.  Often times, it's not pretty. 

- Apparently, for as much as people seem interested in following Ben from bar to bar to...oh wait, it was only one bar...they seemed to have forgotten that the Steelers as a team was playing the season not to get to the Superbowl but to win the Superbowl.  LaMarr Woodley even stated that it was more important then his negotiations for a new contract. 

- Did I mention that there have been no reports of the team looking a bit "off" in practice (unlike all the reports coming out of Camp Cupcake in 09?). 

However, here is my biggest issue with this type of reporting...taking information and pictures from a site that looks to get beaver shots of Paris Hilton and Lyndsey Lohan and trying to create a story from it.

In the days after the alleged rape in GA, the media stormed that small college town.  Everything had been reported from the shirt that Roethlisberger wore, to the tag the victim wore.  The media had looked at every angle.  In the end, in a press conference with the DA, the DA sited that the victim sent a letter asking for the charges to be dropped and stated the attention that it would draw in the press as one of the reasons she didn't want to press charges.  Given all the attention in the press all season long and the reminders of what happened, you know I don't blame her. 

Yet while some in the media would like to use this as a platform to "get justice" for the victim.  Remember, the media is just as responsible for the victim not wanting to go forward and seeking justice, as was any "suggested influence" from law enforcement officials in GA.  In other words, quit feeling like justice wasn't served when they're part of the reason it wasn't.   And if they want to argue that's not what they're doing, then why do they keep bringing the incident up?

And to Will, seriously, what's next, which linebacker isn't eating their vegetables? 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com