Wednesday, March 06, 2013

About Big Ben's Denial of Leadership Problems

Joey Porter's Pit Bulls are not going to speculate too much on the perceived lack of leadership on the Steelers, or the reports of a fractured locker room.  We fans, after all, are on the outside.
  We see what we see; we hear what we hear; we read what we read. We draw our own conclusions.

Although we know better, it doesn't sit well that the Post-Gazette's Ron Cook, the bleating little weaselcan hide behind the "anonymous Steeler" cloak covering the supposed story of an "anonymous" player who criticized LaMarr Woodley for being "terrible" and out of shape.

 Yeah, Woodley was terrible and appeared out of shape, and Cook can hide behind his "confidential source" and the recumbent Columbia Journalism Review blather, but Cook's story is weakened by the anonymity of the source.

Granted, this isn't Watergate, but how are we even to know there was such a player making these statements about Woodley? We're supposed to take Cook's word for it. Speculation about any player, then, is fair game, and that reeks.

That's not to say it didn't happen. Usually, where there's smoke there's fire. Sometimes, it's just smoke. We have a feeling there are some smoldering embers here, at the very least, but we don't really know. How could we?  Last year, however, it was clear something was wrong on that team. Actually, by all appearances, a lot of things were wrong.

Conspicuously absent through all this, until just last week, was the $102-million franchise quarterback, the highest profile player on the team, the face and voice of the franchise.  
We ask: 
Is it fair to wonder whether questions about "lack of leadership" are being asked in part because the quarterback has failed to assert leadership? 
Ben Roethlisberger's comments speak for themselves, but there's something lacking, as if proclaimed from a partitioned room separate and above the rest of the building.

Roethlisberger was quoted extensively by Ed Bouchette in the story headlined, "Big Ben: Steelers locker room perfectly fine"

Bouchette's article raises more questions than answers: Is Ben Roethlisberger out of touch? Is he being unintentionally disingenuous? Whistling past the graveyard? Despite all evidence to the contrary, the quarterback proclaims there are "no issues"?  

Seven times -- count 'em -- seven times in the article, Ben says there are "no issues."  He doth protest too much?

Read for yourself (emphasis, i.e., bold-faced and italics, added by JPPBs), below:
"For anybody to say there are locker room issues or leadership issues are completely off base," Roethlisberger said Thursday. "The important thing to know is, there are no issues (1) in our locker room. There are no issues (2) with LaMarr. There are no issues (3) on our team.

"I want to make sure people know there is no issue (4) in our locker room," Roethlisberger stated. "We've got great leadership. We have plenty of older guys -- myself now, Ike Taylor, Larry Foote, Willie Colon (?!), Brett Keisel, Casey Hampton -- we have a ton of guys.

"I want it to be known there is no locker room issue (5), there is no leadership issue (6)."

"I've been around a lot of the guys, I've seen a lot of the guys, there are no issues (7)."

"That's what I'm hoping to just say: Done."

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Get it? No issues. According to Ben Roethlisberger, there are no issues in the locker room.

After all that's happened, the proclamation has been made. From the ivory tower. Now that's leadership. You just keep telling yourself that, Ben. Uh-huh.

Seriously, is Roethlisberger that out of touch? Or is that his way of making a show of asserting "leadership"?

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