Douchebag DecreeBen Roethlisberger, our second Douchebag Decree All-Star

Editor’s Note: Some douchebags never change. This week, Ben Roethlisberger wrote that he couldn’t sleep after his team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, remained off the field during the national anthem. Roethlisberger went on to add that he believes protests have no place during the national anthem. We’re re-upping our decision to award Roethlisberger our second Douchebag Decree All-Star!

This story was originally published on June 10, 2010.

Ben Roethlisberger. He’s a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers! He’s the youngest Super Bowl-winning quarterback in NFL history! He’s one of the NFL’s highest-paid players, with a $102 million dollar five-year contract! He’s a rapist! And he’s not just an All-Star on the field, folks, he’s also our second Douchebag Decree All-Star! (Applause.)

I know we are all shocked that a professional athlete’s sense of entitlement might lead him to have three accounts of sexual assault on record and still be an active (although temporarily suspended) player with a grotesque amount of money on his bloated hands. Let’s review the charges, in baseball terminology. (Trigger warning: plain-language accounts of rape.) Strike one: In the most recent case, which took place in March, Roethlisberger was accused of raping a 20-year-old Georgia college student in a club bathroom. The accuser’s name is being withheld, and although it’s not a Jane Doe case, I’ll refer to her as Doe just for the sake of clarity. Long story short, Roethlisberger and his bodyguards (two off-duty Pennsylvania policemen) visited a couple of bars in Milledgeville, Georgia, where Roethlisberger posed for pictures with fans (including Doe), bought them all drinks and proclaimed: “All my bitches, take some shots.” His bodyguards escorted Doe to a side door near the back of the building and blocked her friends from getting to her. The bodyguards and club owner ignored Doe’s friends’ repeated requests to get their friend back while a “visibly intoxicated” Roethlisberger exposed himself to Doe in the hallway and then raped her in the “Employees Only” bathroom. For a full account, you can read Doe’s police report and the corroborating witness reports of her friends at The Smoking Gun. (Trigger warning: obvious.)

Image: an excerpt from Doe’s handwritten police report, which she filed just a few hours after the rape. Taken from The Smoking Gun.

In April, the Milledgeville district attorney announced that Roethlisberger would not be charged because there wasn’t enough “probable cause” and because the victim’s attorney had written to him asking not to follow through with the rape probe due to the highly public nature of the trial and the “intrusive personal experience” it was becoming (full text of that letter here, emphasis in quote mine):

“After a great deal of deliberation, our client has instructed us to advise you that she does not want to prosecute this matter further. …What is obvious in looking forward is that a criminal trial would be a very intrusive personal experience for a complainant in the situation, given the extraordinary media attention that would be inevitable. The media coverage to date and the efforts of the media to access our client have been unnerving to say the least. …As should be clear from what I have said here, this decision does not reflect any recanting of our client’s complaint, but simply a realistic, personal decision as to what is in her best interests, and what it would be like to go through a trial with the expected media attention.

Despite the dropped charges, Roethlisberger has suffered at least some backlash from the incident: Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he was “highly concerned for [the Steelers’] franchise and for Ben” (not for the rape victim, of course - she’ll be fine). PLB Sports, maker of Big Ben’s Beef Jerky (for real), decided not only to stop production of the jerky, but also to “destroy” all the jerky in PLB backstock, now that it has been tainted with Roethlisberger’s rapey stink. Roethlisberger was also suspended without pay for six games and underwent a “professional behavior evaluation,” counseling and treatment. None of this punishment would be taking place if Doe hadn’t had the courage to file a police report (which she did even though police officers told her it was a waste of time - more on that below!). Strike two:Roethlisberger’s record of sexual assault douchebagger includes exposing himself to and puting his hand up the skirt of a young Georgia golf course employee; the victim in this case also chose not to press charges or even file a report for fear of unwanted media attention. Strike three: Last but not least, Roethlisberger was also accused of sexual assault last year by Andrea McNulty, a Lake Tahoe casino host who accused Roethlisberger of raping her at the casino’s hotel during a celebrity golf tournament in 2008. This case is a lot less clear-cut, in part because of McNulty’s questionable legal practices (she skipped filing a police report and instead went straight to a civil lawsuit) and also because of a sworn affidavit from one of her co-workers that conflicted with McNulty’s account of the event and confirmed Roethlisberger’s denial of the charge.

Left: Sergeant Jerry Blash, right: Roethlisberger

Douchebag honorable mentions must be bestowed onto Roethlisberger’s bodyguards, without whom this rape could not have taken place, and Milledgeville police officer Sergeant Jerry Blash, who, after hearing Doe’s accusation on the night of the assault, made a dismissive comment along the lines of “this f-cking bitch is drunk.” After delivering this eloquent expression of sympathy, he then proceeded to tell Doe and her friends that following through with a police report would be “wasting their time” because “Roethlisberger has a lot of money.” According to TMZ, Blash was soon given the option to resign or be fired. He chose the former. The upside to all this is that if Blash ever gets nostalgic about his eight years on the force, he can take out his scrapbook and gaze upon the photos he took that night with Roethlisberger (above), and remember that he lost his job because he defended a rapist while insulting and attempting to silence a rape victim. Parting is bittersweet, Blash, but we’ll always have Milledgeville.

by Sara Reihani
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20 Comments Have Been Posted

A deserving All-Star.

The more I hear about this dude, the bigger douchenozzle he turns out to be. For more evidence of his douchebaggery, check out <a href=" Deadspin post</a>, which includes more stories from women who've had uncomfortable encounters with Douchlisberger. Warning: The post contains descriptions of Ben's penis, which is apparently "gray in color." Hmm... Maybe all of the sexual assaults are prematurely aging that thing.

Kelsey Wallace, Web Editor

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Ugh, just looking at him

Ugh, just looking at him churns my stomach. I think that along with Roethlisberger we should nominate the NFL for only suspending him for six games. Hey guys, think sexual assault is fun? Don't worry, no one will treat you like a criminal, we'll just suspend you for six games. Grrr.

I think the same goes for

I think the same goes for the victims not pressing charges because of unwanted media attention. You won't be a criminal, so rape all the women you want, because they won't press charges. You'll never get caught! Ugh. These people need to be held accountable for their actions and protection should be offered/available for those who have fallen prey (for lack of a better word) to these douches in the event of media coverage. It should be covered so we know what these celebs are really like. The same goes for politicians: they should get the same punishment as anyone else who commits these crimes. And we should stop (do I even need to say it?) making jokes about rape and blaming the victim. Because then shit like this will just keep happening and we'll all continue to be surprised.

RE: Ben Rhoethlisberger

This report really freaks me out. Not only has this man been accused of rape three times, each time he has not been fully persecuted. On top of that his bodyguards are suppose to be men who up hold the law. Our society really needs to wake up and stop living in a world where women can be become victims of rape. We need to stop seeing rape victims as instigators and start protecting their rights. We need to start giving them support rather than condemning their unfortunate experience. Lawyers need to step up and start persecuted to the furthest extend of the law.
Thank you for this story, I will make sure to post this on my facebook and twitter feed. I think other readers should as well. The first step to making some sort of change is through education, and this is the first step towards that.

I hadn't realized

that Roethlisberger's bodyguards worked in conjunction with him to trap the woman. That is unreal. Have they been subject to any punishment whatsoever? Reading this, I had a terrible thought that someday one of them will write publicly about the rapes he enabled and it will be another popular shocker-from-inside story, while the bodyguard gets praised for coming clean since he wasn't *actually* the rapist. Unfounded thoughts, I hope.

In the meantime, my sympathies are with this awful man's ("douchebag," I fear, is not strong enough) victims; we can only hope they are getting the help they need, if not the justice.

the police

The officers with Roethlisberger that night have not been punished. Their cheifs have said that there's no evidence of misconduct, etc...

But I'm hoping the release of the statements may change that. Their complicity in this is dangerous.

I definitely agree. Who

I definitely agree. Who knows how many rapes they may have helped facilitate prior to this event and how many they may continue to help facilitate in the future?

The bottom line is that all of these men are sick. No means no, whether or not "that f*cking bitch is drunk." (By the way, thanks for that officer. Way to be a model citizen.)

This makes me wanna cry.

This makes me wanna cry. He's beyond a douche, he's evil & should be locked up forever. What is wrong with men?! Why does there seem to be so many horrible ones out there?


I just want to add to this that I am a life long Steelers fan and there are a large number of Pittsburgers and Steeler fans across the country who no longer support Ben. His behavior is not being tolerated blindly by a good many of those who support the Steelers and I have been very glad to see that as all of this has unfolded. I make no excuses for him b/c of my loyalty to the team. He said in an interview being released today that he apologizes for being young & dumb & not knowing better. What a crock. the man is 28 years old. He should and does know better and should be in jail. Anyway, just wanted to post this to say that Steelers fans are not making excuses for him and treating him with kid gloves. he is not getting a free pass on this with the fans.

Thank you from this native Burgher!

I'm from Pittsburgh, and it warms my heart not to be the only person in the world making excuses for this song of a bitch. Do you know, for a while, they were running a story about how he was framed?! Honestly. I love my city, but sometimes, its residents aren't exactly sharp.

Yes, he's a total douchebag....

... and a likely rapist, and he went to Miami of Ohio (Douchiest school ever) ... but the whole "banned from the NFL" idea makes no sense. If I get charged, but not convicted of a crime (or 3), I would hope that my employer wouldn't fire me. Counseling? Therapy? Probation? Suspension? Sure. Fire, no. Keep in mind I'm making NO excuses for his behavior.

The difference between you and an NFL star....

is that you are not an example of of behavior for millions of kids nor do you represent a very public team. One of the reasons the Steelers are such a big deal here in Pittsburgh is that they (used to) hold their players to a higher public standard of behavior off field and don't put up with stars trying to play the "I'm too big for you to drop" game. They're community leaders. I'm really disappointed that the Rooneys haven't dropped Roethlisberger for his behavior.

Roethlisberger's behavior is not excusable. He raped a girl. Even if he doesn't go to jail, he should be fired to make the point that the NFL won't put up with one of their players assaulting women.

Yeah, particularly

Yeah, particularly considering how toxic the rape culture is in the NFL.

And the other bog difference between him and you is...

He was charged three times but not convicted. You (or I), on the other hand, would not escape prosecution (and justly so). At that point you would surely be fired (and justly so). There is nothing fair or just about his situation. He deserves far worse.

Local Media Douchebaggery

In Pittsburgh, where I live, the release of the police interview tapes was on the front page of both local papers today. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's headline read "The Roethlisberger Tapes: 'I Really Don't Think it's Okay'" (using a quote from the victim's account of what she said to Roethlisberger), while Richard Mellon Scaife's notoriously biased Tribune Review (the FOX News of local print media, IMO) ran the following headline: "Big Ben Accuser Slurred Out Tale of Rape, Tapes Reveal." Is there a Douchebag Decree award for print media?

did you see....

"Roethlisberger begins PR effort

Ben Roethlisberger has been mostly silent since his March barroom encounter with a Georgia college student, his ensuing legal issues and subsequent NFL suspension.

But the Steelers quarterback took his first significant public step toward repairing his reputation and winning back the legion of fans he alienated with his boorish behavior in select interviews with two local television stations."

I don't care about his PR effort!

Thank you...

for finally including this scumbag. What a fucking disappointment he turned out to be. I used to have a Steelers superfan roommate who always talked about how he survived a near-fatal accident and was the hometown hero. I, knowing nothing about sports, humored her. But then he takes his recovery for granted by doing this shit? Go away, fuckwad. Athletic culture doesn't need yet another entitled rapist douchebag.


That's a huge understatement. Blash is the douchebag. Whoever the fuck is in charge of the Steelers, whoever knew this had happened and did nothing, they're the douchebags. Roethlisberger and his bodyguards are the criminals. Sometimes I think that rape is worse than murder because it stays with you forever, and you feel it. You can get depression, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD (flashbacks, nightmares), schizophrenia, borderline, and the list goes on. I feel murderous just thinking about it.

No offense, Sara, I think it's important that you covered this, and I thank you for it. But I personally feel that "douchebag" plays it down some. That's just my opinion. Thanks again for bringing this psychopath to our attention. He's going to hell when he dies :)

I hope that the victim(s), past, present, and future, are able to successfully prosecute him before he hurts anyone else. My best wishes go out to them :(

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