This morning, Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger crashed his motorcyle into a car on the approach to the 10th Street Bridge in Dahntahn* Pittsburgh, smashing up his face pretty badly. At first, the reports indicated that he had badly hurt one or both knees, but later that story was changed. His head injuries, however, included a broken jaw and broken teeth. Seven hours of surgery was required to fix Ben’s face, and he is in serious but stable condition. Surgeons claim to have put Humpty together again. He was not wearing a helmet. Read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story here.
Not smart, Ben. In past interviews, Roethlisberger has defended his right not to wear a helmet when tooling around on his big bike, especially since Pennsylvania had rescinded its helmet law in 2003. But just because the law permits it, there’s no excuse for stupidity. Ben can be the most careful motorcycle rider in history, yet he still risks serious head injuries not wearing a helmet. Hell, he doesn’t even have to be in motion—he could be just sitting on the damn hog at a red light and have someone plow into him from behind. He cannot control the other guy, even if he makes absolutely no mistakes himself. Stupid. He’s under contract for big bucks and he owes it to the Steelers to protect his valuable ass, head, knees, hand and whatever else belongs to the contracted entity.
There have been many recent instances of motorcycle injuries involving professional athletes which have damaged or ended their big bucks careers. Point guard Jason Williams of the Chicago Bulls and wide receiver Kellen Winslow, Jr. of the Cleveland Browns are two who quickly come to mind. Way back when, even Vinnie Testaverde had a motorcycle incident when he was a student at the University of Miami—as I recall, he was carrying a bag of hamburgers in one hand and driving with the other or some such thing. In any case, there’s just too much risk inherent in riding motorcycles in traffic to allow for it in professional sports contracts. At the very least, such contracts should specify that protective clothing and headgear must be worn.
The Turkey wishes Big Ben a speedy recovery from both his physical injuries and his poor judgment.
*Pittsburghese for “downtown”