Big Ben strikes four, maybe six

Written by Reg Henry on .

If you live overseas, you likely call the game the Steelers play "American football" - to distinguish it from the sorts of football played locally.

When I was growing up in Australia, I was familiar with four codes of football - two types of rugby football (League and Union), soccer (the original football) and Australian Rules football (sometimes called aerial ping pong because of the frenetic back and forth kicking).

What strikes me about the punishment meted out to Ben Roethlisberger today by the NFL is how American it is. Justice in this country is often satisfied by an exchange or loss of money - and that is true here. The punishment really isn't about the games Big Ben will be made to miss - it is how much money he will be docked for missing them. He will lose $1.8 million for four games missed and $3.3 million if the suspension amounts to six games. That's some added bar tab.

And how will he get the lower suspension/less cut in pay? Why, by successfully completing that most American of remedies - counseling and treatment. Having been cleared of a crime, Big Ben stands accused of a moral failure. And how is a moral failure dealt with in America? It is made into a suitable case for treatment with professional evaluators. Perhaps this will work but I am left feeling skeptical.

American football indeed.


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